Shanghai, China

China is experiencing rapid urbanisation, with huge new buildings being built all the time to meet demand for homes, hotels, shopping malls and offices. By using AI and ‘big data’ technology, it enables buildings to become more energy efficient, lowering energy bills and reducing pollution in cities – all without any intrusive equipment or installation work. 

Over the past few decades, China has seen an unprecedented shift to urban living, accompanied by a boom in construction – China used more cement between 2011 and 2013 than the USA did in the entire 20th century. But, as in other countries, there is often an energy ‘performance gap’ in these new buildings, which means they use far more energy than they were designed to. Addressing the performance gap requires an understanding of where the problems lie, and while lots of data is available from smart meters and building management systems, it is not often harvested and analysed. 

We would have spent a very large amount of money installing submeters in this building, but with EQutoa Energy we didn’t have to. Our bosses were very pleased about that.

Irene Peng, K11 building, Shanghai

Over the past few decades, China has seen an unprecedented shift to urban living, accompanied by a boom in construction – China used more cement between 2011 and 2013 than the USA did in the entire 20th century. But, as in other countries, there is often an energy ‘performance gap’ in these new buildings, which means they use far more energy than they were designed to. Addressing the performance gap requires an understanding of where the problems lie, and while lots of data is available from smart meters and building management systems, it is not often harvested and analysed. 

EQuota Energy works with commercial buildings such as hotels, offices, shopping malls and factories to gather data on energy use and analyse it to enable savings to be made. Crucially, the data is harvested in a non-intrusive way by connecting to existing smart meters, building management systems and other sensors; clients prefer this less-disruptive method to having to install new monitoring hardware.  

The harvested data is transferred securely to EQuota Energy’s cloud computing facility, where intelligent software is used to process it. The first stage is ‘disaggregation’, where data from smart meters is broken down to identify individual pieces of machinery switching on and off, which is achieved by making use of data from other sources in the building and by the software learning from experience in other buildings. 

The second stage is analysing the disaggregated data to identify where energy is being wasted, where the building’s environment is not ideal, and where maintenance is required. The results of the analysis are presented to the client through an intuitive dashboard that allows them to explore the information and see where action is required. The system can go further though, suggesting maintenance schedules for individual engineers and providing aggregated information to energy suppliers to help them plan energy generation to meet demand in the cleanest and lowest-cost way. 

EQuota Energy is now managing over three million square meters of floorspace, delivering annual energy savings worth over $7million to its clients and saving over 110,000 tonnes of CO2 each year. As well as saving money and reducing CO2 emissions, clients have reported improved indoor environments, with better humidity control and lower pollution levels. 

Maintenance can be cheaper and more effective as machinery is more closely monitored and possible faults highlighted, saving staff time and potentially improving health and safety for industrial clients. Finally, by understanding the energy demand profile across a range of buildings in a particular region, EQuota Energy can assist utilities in making the best use of their energy generation and distribution assets, potentially cutting CO2 emissions further still and avoiding or postponing upgrades to the distribution grid.