Case-study:

Quick results by utilizing AI to optimize energy consumption

The Danish Municipality of Holstebro, started using Ento Labs AI Energy Advisor in August 2021 – a year later, they managed to reduce their buildings’ annual energy consumption by 1.7%.

This reduction could only happen by replacing their old “data collecting” system with something more modern focused on actionable insights.

When you are a small energy team with a large building portfolio you have to prioritize your efforts.

That was one of the realizations from the team in Holstebro Municipality, Denmark. With automated analytics, the employees has spent less time on manual analysis of energy consumption and more time in their buildings – creating value.

More time spent in the buildings

Holstebro Municipality has a Facility Management team dedicated to operations and maintenance of the municipality’s 230,000 m2 (2.5 million square feet) of properties. The team is responsible for technical installations, construction and renovations, energy budgets, exterior maintenance, and carries out inspections to solve problems in the buildings.

Three people are responsible for energy, engineering, and installation, and five for construction projects and building maintenance. Energy management is just one of the center’s many tasks. It is a complex task to manage the buildings, and it is therefore essential for Holstebro Municipality to have the right tools to support the task.

An essential tool for energy management can be an energy management system (EMS), which collects and clarifies data on energy consumption in buildings. But until the municipality changed its EMS, the energy management team faced several challenges. Data came in from their loggers on electricity, water, and heat meters, but it required a lot of maintenance. For instance, when changing meters and adding buildings to their portfolio. Additionally, there was low confidence that the data was accurate. It, therefore, took too much time from the energy employees’ other tasks to maintain the system, and it was therefore not used in practice.

Ento Labs allowed a prioritized effort

The project manager in Team Fælles Ejendomscenter, Thøger Niels Pørtner, was hired to, among other things, decide what should happen to the municipality’s EMS. He had experience with various EMSs from previous employments and considered different systems. From that experience, he knew that the number one goal of choosing a system is that it’s going to support the everyday life of a small energy team. He and his colleagues need to be in the buildings while the EMS runs by itself, letting them know how they are doing.

With these pieces of information, the municipality got in talks with Ento Labs.

“Should we have bought another software where we would have to sit and manually configure the buildings, data and alarms ourselves, then we wouldn’t be done with the configuration yet” says Thøger Niels Pørtner.

Currently, Holstebro is only using Ento Labs for electricity data, but from the summer of 2022, heat and water consumption will be added to the platform and municipality’s properties. The system is AI-based, using data across the systems users’ buildings to identify deviating consumption patterns. In practice, it works in such a way that when Thøger and his colleagues access the system, they get to highlight the buildings with an increased or changed consumption that indicates “that something is wrong here”.

Based on this information, they prioritize which buildings they should visit to identify and implement energy savings. This releases time to talk to the operational staff in the buildings. When the municipal employees return to the office, they can also report implemented measures in the system and keep an eye on whether they achieve the expected savings over the next few months.

The new system has led to substantial energy savings

Thøger Niels Pørtner emphasizes that even though it costs money to invest in data driven energy management, there is more money to be saved; this applies in the form of energy savings and the working hours the system saves employees from spending on data loggers, setting up reports, etc.

Since the project started in 2021, the municipality has saved 127,856 kWh, 27,026 kg CO2 and DKK 236,534. The savings have primarily been on ventilation and corrections in CTS/BMS systems, and the municipality expects to see more savings when data from water and heat consumption comes online.

“It’s cool that the analysis work and data processing now takes up so little time, that we can use our energy in the buildings. Now the time is spent on what creates value. It may be that these are some simple analyzes that Ento Labs does, but in my view, it is better than what we can do. And we trust that there is something to act on when we go out to the buildings,” says Thøger Niels Pørtner.