Can AI Help Commercial Landlords Comply With MEES?

Can Artificial Intelligence Help Business Landlords Comply With MEES Regulations?
November 22, 2022

As the expansion to minimum energy efficiency standards for commercial buildings draws ever closer, are EPC assessments sufficient to truly measure energy efficiency?

Andrew Fitzpatrick, Director, Business Development UK at BrainBox AI, explains how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be an ally to owners and investors when navigating the changing regulatory environment in the UK.

Andrew Fitzpatrick directs all UK business development activities for BrainBox AI, including sales and management of key strategic partnerships. Prior to joining BrainBox AI, Andrew developed almost a decade of sales, engineering and commercialization experience across Canada, the United States and the UK, building expertise in the implementation of real estate digital solutions. Some of his best-known work to date spans a series of highly complex multi-million dollar construction projects, including the Battersea Power Station redevelopment project. Andrew holds an MBA in Business Administration from Bayes Business School and a BA in Engineering from McGill University.

Changes to Energy Efficiency Compliance

The increased volatility of energy markets over 2022 has seen energy efficiency rise up the agendas of facilities managers. Added impetus also arose from legislative changes implemented before the war in Ukraine, including imminent changes to the legislative landscape resulting from the expansion of minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) to cover the commercial building sector.

From 1 April 2023, MEES will apply to commercial landlords in addition to residential; Exclude them from granting, renewing or extending tenancies unless they achieve a required level of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of E, apart from certain exceptions. A recent government white paper and subsequent consultations indicate an intention for future requirements to be elevated to an EPC rating of C in 2027 and B in 2030.

The EPC has for many years provided an at-a-glance guide to energy efficiency and therefore a reference to assess the cost of energy bills. The factors considered include the amount of energy used per m² and the level of carbon dioxide emissions.

“While EPC standards help to boost the inherent energy efficiency of buildings, the rating simply provides a corresponding snapshot at a given time. In order to optimize the use of energy for cooling and heating commercial real estate, there is a need for more dynamic assessments.”

Are EPCs alone sufficient?

The expansion of MEES to the commercial sector will help improve energy efficiency standards but EPCs on their own are arguably flawed. The EPC assessment simply compares against a checklist-style approach and forgoes any assessments or measurements of the working conditions of a building’s functions.

Furthermore, MEES addresses only one side of the carbon footprint equation for commercial real estate. Buildings are currently responsible for 39 percent of global energy-related carbon emissions: of which 28 percent are from operational emissions arising from energy needed to heat, cool and power them, and the remaining 11 percent from materials and construction.

To achieve further reductions in emissions, managers of commercial building facilities need to adopt big data solutions to maximize the operational energy efficiency of their buildings.

While EPC standards help to boost the inherent energy efficiency of buildings, the rating simply provides a corresponding snapshot at a given time. In order to optimize the use of energy for cooling and heating commercial real estate, there is a need for more dynamic assessments. These evaluations can be provided through the analysis of data and the fine-tuning of HVAC systems depending on occupancy, sunlight exposure, ambient temperature and a host of other variables.

However, performing dynamic assessments and adjustments at a commercial building scale would require much larger facilities management teams. Deploying that much highly skilled labor would very likely reduce any cost savings that owners and owner-operators might see from such work. This is why progressive facilities management teams are increasingly looking at technological solutions. These can take the data that is available and make adjustments in real time throughout a building.

When this technology is underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI), it can also help reduce the strain on a building’s HVAC systems, which can help extend their operational life.

Looking to the future, this type of facilities management technology could also help to maximize local energy usage either through load sharing or shifting and potentially by minimizing carbon emissions further by aligning energy usage with energy supply. This could potentially allow buildings to provide energy from renewable sources over fossil fuel production.

Improving UK energy standards

AI serves to promote improved energy efficiency through the real-time evaluations it offers to optimize energy usage. A more focused regulatory framework will force landlords and building managers to apply the full capabilities of AI in a tailored way. MEES does an excellent job of addressing the quality of the building fabric and equipment but does a less good job of measuring operational energy usage.

A great out-of-the-box standard already made in the UK is the new NABERS UK standard, a more detailed six-star energy efficiency ratings system. The model accounts for component services in the building that impact energy usage, including heating, cooling systems, elevators, lobby lighting and more.

NABERS provides a data-driven approach with a high degree of granularity that provides much more information to evaluate. In this respect, the data approach is robust with AI, which is rooted in data and real-time responses. Embedding a NABERS UK system deeper into building requirements will take time, but there are lessons that can be applied from the NABERS Australia experience.

Dynamic and rapid building performance

AI will be vital to understanding building performance in a rapid and dynamic manner. IEA statistics show that in 2021 the operation of ​​buildings accounted for 30 percent of the global final energy consumption and 27 percent of the total emissions of the energy sector, demonstrating the value of optimized building energy performance.

The technology is now in place to empower us to move away from the days of assessments done once every 6 months, 12 months or 5 years. Live data is available and should be used to quickly identify underperforming assets or underperforming equipment and suggest changes.

The capabilities of AI can be taken one step further by allowing autonomous real-time action on recommendations to avoid wasted energy. After all, the cheapest and cleanest energy is the energy we don’t use in the first place.

Image: A photograph of Andrew Fitzpatrick speaking at a lectern. Image credit: BrainBox AI

Article written by Andrew Fitzpatrick | Published November 22, 2022


Related articles

A New Methodology to Measure EPC Ratings – What is SAP 11?

The government’s current system for rating the energy performance of UK homes is to be overhauled over the next three years. In collaboration with the…

Read full article

Minimum energy efficiency standards – how can landlords prepare for the changes?

Following the closure of the MEES consultation in June 2021, what action should commercial landlords take now? The property sector has a lot of work to do…

Read full article

One in ten London offices could be unusable by 2023

Commercial buildings that do not meet future legal minimum energy standards are at risk, according to Colliers. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for…

Read full article

A landlord’s guide to EPC ratings for commercial buildings

For commercial real estate landlords, the incoming minimum energy efficiency standards regulations mean that energy-efficient buildings will go from a “pretty to…

Read full article

Baring the minimum – MEES guidance out

The publication of government guidance on the minimum energy efficiency standard that will come into force in privately rented commercial buildings from April 2018 has…

Read full article

Infogrid acquires Aquicore to strengthen ESG reporting offering

UK smart building technology company Infogrid has announced the acquisition of Aquicore, an ESG data and analytics company. The acquisition will combine…

Read full article

8 key metrics to claim ISO 50001 accreditation

By claiming the ISO 50001 accreditation, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to ESG standards and take steps towards better energy efficiency. Research by…

Read full article

MRI software acquires Springboard

MRI Software, a global leader in real estate software solutions, has announced the acquisition of UK-based Springboard, a leading provider of footfall counting and…

Read full article

CBRE acquires E2C technology

CBRE has acquired artificial intelligence business E2C Technology, with the intention of offering its clients additional data solutions. CBRE hopes to use the…

Read full article

Next step for cleaning robot innovation

Avidbots and Maplesoft collaborate to produce innovation to meet the growing demand for autonomous commercial cleaning systems. AvidBots, one of the world’s leading…

Read full article


Also Read :  The Internet Is Swearing By This Hack To Fall Asleep Faster, So I Got An Expert's Opinion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button