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How AI can slim firms' power bills.

Byline: HENRYK ZIENTEK @HenrykZientek

A RESEARCHER at the University of Huddersfield is investigating how artificial intelligence (AI) can help designers better predict energy use in buildings.

Rima Alaaeddine, 27, a PhD researcher in the School of Art, Design and Architecture, aims to tackle the "energy performance gap" and benefit the building sector at a time of increasing pressure on organisations to conserve their energy consumption.

The energy performance gap arises when a building consumes more energy than was predicted during the design phase. It is attributed to a set of variables such as environmental conditions, building characteristics and occupancy.

Occupants have a significant impact on building energy use - due to the complexity in predicting how much energy a building's occupants will consume and the way they individually interact with the building on a daily basis, known as "occupants behaviour". This includes actions such as their use of lighting, hot water, electricity, appliances and the way they interact with the building - for example, opening windows and controlling their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

By better predicting occupants behaviour, Rima's research could play an important part in helping the construction industry meet strict energy efficiency targets set as part of the UK government's new energy strategy.

With the energy consumption of buildings accounting for 30 per cent of global energy use, improving the energy efficiency of buildings is one of the government's key strategic objectives.

Rima's research will employ a branch of AI called Machine Learning, which can offer more accurate predictions on occupants' behaviour.

Her project has already received national recognition.

Rima was shortlisted from hundreds of applicants from across the UK to present her research in Parliament, as part of the annual STEM for BRITAIN competition, to a range of politicians and a panel of expert judges.

The prestigious poster competition, headed by the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, was organised in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Biology, The Physiological Society and the Council for the Mathematical Sciences.

Rima said it was an honour to take part, adding: "The event provided me with an opportunity to communicate my research as widely as possible, to inform and enthuse nonscientific audiences about my research in the building energy performance realm aiming to unveil the benefits it brings."

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:May 24, 2018
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