Perhaps the biggest application for green digital technologies at the moment is in building energy management, through technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) enabled sensors. Tim, who specialises in zero carbon buildings, explained: “From a buildings perspective, IoT is absolutely fundamental, both in terms of being able to control systems but also in terms of collation of data. The big challenge once you’ve captured data is data analytics for understanding exactly what is happening in buildings, rather than what we think is happening. We can unlock significant energy and carbon savings by doing that.”
Greater Manchester is already pushing ahead in this area with demonstrator projects like Homes as Energy Systems (HAES), which is installing multiple green technologies in 700 properties and exploring how they can support a more dynamic energy grid.
Qbots is also working in this space. One of its current projects is ENERGY-IQ, a £2.2 million initiative to bring data-driven smart energy services to different types of buildings across Greater Manchester. Last year, we were able to help Qbots with the project by linking them up with a local installer of building energy management systems (BEMS).
“We wanted a company who was interacting [with buildings] and doing the installations, so we reached out to the Business Growth Hub and they found us a company, Open Control Solutions,” Vijay said. “These guys are looking at managing buildings and traditional mechanical engineering services; what we are trying to do is take that into the digital world, trying to get all the data points about the building along with energy data, and creating AI models of the building.”