It is important to stress that AI in buildings is still at a very early stage and claims about its use should be viewed with caution. However, progress is rapid and likely to remain so.
Part of the key power of AI lies in its ability to compare a huge range of different scenarios far more quickly and accurately than any human could. This capability comes to the fore in the design and construction phases of a building. With access to enough data, AI can try many different design options and compare costings, likely energy performance and other factors.
AI can also identify common problems and bottlenecks and safety risks encountered during a construction project and recommend solutions.
Once the building is up and running, service and maintenance provides another ideal application for AI. Malfunctioning of building equipment can cause disruption, lost revenue and even endanger lives. By tapping into and analysing the stream of data available from more and more HVAC, security and other building services AI can identify the tell-tale warning signs of failure, enabling predictive maintenance. This both reduces down-times and the cost of maintenance.
AI has a huge potential role when it comes to solving some of the key challenges faced today. With buildings accounting for some 40% of energy consumed, they face a twin challenge of both improving energy efficient and of maximising use of green and renewal energy. Accordingly, we are likely to see increased use of energy generated on-site, through solar PV, wind power, combined heat and power or other means.
Complex and continual calculations are needed to decide whether it is best to use energy from onsite sources directly, store it (e.g. in batteries) or export it to the grid. AI can ensure that these decisions are taken in real time, based on up to date information.