Power Play: Buildings with Energy Management

Exploring the forefront of sustainable energy, Dr. Jeong Hak-geun’s team develops a groundbreaking platform transforming buildings into efficient energy hubs, merging AI with renewable resources.

The Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER), led by Dr. Jeong Hak-geun, promises to significantly alter how buildings manage energy in their new press release. This new building energy management platform technology aims to transform buildings from traditional energy consumers into comprehensive energy hubs capable of efficiently producing, managing, and saving energy.

Buildings vary widely in their energy consumption, influenced by factors such as location, design, and occupancy. In the face of initiatives aimed at achieving carbon neutrality and adopting 100% renewable energy, the integration of renewable energy sources—like solar panels, fuel cells, and energy storage systems—into buildings has become increasingly common. Yet, effectively managing these resources to ensure efficient energy consumption remains a complex challenge.

Traditional Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS) have primarily focused on monitoring energy usage and relying on the operational experience of building managers. This approach, while foundational, struggles to address the intricacies of managing diverse energy resources and consumption patterns within buildings. Moreover, it often fails to provide real-time diagnostics of system malfunctions, posing a barrier to efficient energy use.

Dr. Jeong’s team proposes a solution through a platform that employs artificial intelligence and probabilistic/statistical methods to autonomously manage and diagnose faults in a building’s distributed resources. This system promises to not only improve energy efficiency and reduce costs but also boasts a fault detection accuracy rate of over 98%. Additionally, it integrates advanced secure communication technologies to protect against cyber threats, an increasingly important consideration.

Researchers group photo (Dr. Jeong Hak-geun, the second from the left), Photo credit: Korea Institute of Energy Research

The platform has demonstrated its efficacy in a year-long mock-up testbed trial, achieving more than 17% energy cost savings compared to existing BEMS. The research has led to significant academic contributions and is nearing commercialisation, indicating its potential impact on the market.

However, the journey toward widespread adoption of this technology is not without its hurdles. The initial costs of implementing such advanced systems can be significant, potentially limiting access for smaller enterprises or residential buildings. Additionally, the reliance on cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum cryptography raises questions about long-term maintenance, required expertise, and the adaptability of the system to future technological advancements.

Critics also emphasise the need for a comprehensive approach to building energy management that includes policy support, user education, and incentives to encourage adoption. The effectiveness of the platform in diverse building environments and its scalability to different sizes and types of buildings remain areas for further exploration.

As this technology moves toward commercialisation, its success will likely depend on a balanced approach that considers technological innovation, economic feasibility, and the broader ecosystem of energy management. The efforts of Dr. Jeong and his team represent a significant step forward in building energy management, offering a glimpse into a more sustainable and efficient future. Yet, the path forward will require collaboration among researchers, industry stakeholders, policymakers, and building occupants to fully realise the potential of this transformative technology.

You can read more about Dr. Jeong’s on the KIER website and we’ll look out for any peer reviewed publications on these studies as they come out.

Staff Writer

Our in-house science writing team has prepared this content specifically for Lab Horizons

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