U.S. loses $150B due to old energy systems: is AI the solution?

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The U.S. Department of Energy released a report that highlights how AI can solve the problem of outdated energy systems by optimizing usage, reducing waste, and progressing toward net-zero emissions. How can those suggestions be applied in practice? Energy experts offer insights.

The U.S. electricity grid, one of the most complex machines on Earth, is aging and overburdened, with outages costing American businesses $150 billion annually, found the report “AI for Energy”. It must undergo modernization and decarbonization to meet net-zero targets by 2050.

“The DOE’s recognition of AI’s potential in the building sector is a significant step forward. Without the adoption of AI tools, reaching net-zero targets will fail,” stated Donatas Karčiauskas, CEO of Exergio, a company that implements AI-based energy performance solutions in commercial properties.

Currently, buildings in the U.S. consume more energy than any other sector, representing nearly 40% of the nation’s total energy use and almost 75% of its electricity consumption. Similarly, the average American building is over 40 years old, and older buildings often lack features that promote energy efficiency.

The report highlights several AI applications for the building sector, emphasizing their potential to become more sustainable. Most notably, AI can optimize energy use by minimizing waste and forecasting energy needs to manage supply efficiently. It can also balance energy performance by managing smart appliances while maintaining optimal conditions. Additionally, AI-provided real-time feedback on energy use and emissions promotes sustainable habits.

“Optimizing energy use in buildings is crucial for reaching sustainability goals, especially in older buildings. As AI-driven solutions improve energy management, the need to do costly renovations disappears,” elaborated Karčiauskas. “Installing AI solutions in a building system offers a comprehensive view of all systems and devices and actionable optimization insights. It can even raise your property value and help attract investors as they seek to buy only energy-efficient buildings for investment. AI is not a threat; it’s a powerful tool for meeting our energy efficiency and sustainability targets.”

An effective example of AI’s integration in various sectors to achieve net-zero emissions is Exergio’s AI solution, which is already making an impact in Europe. In Poznan, Poland, Exergio’s platform has helped building owners of a commercial complex to reduce consumption by 20% and save €80k in 9 months, showcasing how similar tools can help businesses reach their sustainability goals.