Inventor to pitch AI system to Government

20 Mar 2007

The founder of a University College Dublin (UCD)-based campus company whose artificial intelligence (AI) technology helps reduce energy costs is planning to make a proposal to the Irish Government.

Nicholas McNulty claims adoption of his technology could help Ireland meet its Kyoto obligations and prevent a likely fine of €1bn.

McNulty’s company, the NovaUCD-based campus company Lightwave, in recent weeks partnered with one of the world’s largest facility management companies OCS to facilitate the installation of its Intelligent Control of Energy (ICE) system as part of an expansion into the UK.

McNulty told that he is preparing to propose to the Irish Government a methodology that he has successfully exported to the UK and is about to export to the US and Japan that he believes could help save the Irish Government €1bn by avoiding hefty fines if they don’t meet their obligations under the Kyoto Agreement 2012.

All EU governments are obliged to reduce CO2 emissions by 8pc by 2012. A further target of reducing CO2 emissions by 20pc by 2020 was recently agreed at the EU Summit.

In recent weeks Lightwave revealed plans to install the ICE system in over 70 buildings across the UK this year. The system was recently installed at the 12,000 sq m Q-Centre in Blanchardstown, which is owned by the Quinn Group, as well as several large commercial buildings in London and Manchester.

Lightwave’s ICE system works in conjunction with existing building management systems and uses advanced artificial intelligence techniques to make real-time and efficient decisions for controlling the energy consumption in buildings while maintaining comfort levels.

The company claims that ICE can save businesses up to 30pc of the gas and up to 20pc of the electricity consumption associated with operating commercial buildings.

“We reckon that if the system were installed in most large buildings in Ireland it would help Government meet and exceed the targets of the Kyoto Protocol and prevent a fine of €1bn.”

He said that he is about to make a proposal to the Irish Government to look at providing grants to install energy management systems in commercial buildings to achieve the goals of the Kyoto Agreement.

Lightwave’s ICE system is a little black box that is placed in the control systems of big buildings. It communicates with the existing building management system (BMS) in a building via the internet or any other IP network to a data centre in Dublin.

It collects the data remotely from the building and after analysing this data learns the building’s unique thermodynamic footprint and how the building behaves over various external weather conditions.

It then communicates in real time with the BMS to, for example, optimally control the start/stop times of boilers, chillers and air-handling units for every floor and zone within the building while maintaining existing comfort levels and at the same time significantly reducing energy consumption and reducing the energy costs.

By John Kennedy