Artificial intelligence takes over the management of Ülemiste City
Starting from spring 2022, the buildings of Ülemiste City are managed by artificial intelligence with the aim of effective use of energy resources and the best indoor climate in the buildings. The solution was developed by the Estonian technology company R8 Technologies, which is applying artificial intelligence on the largest territory for the first time.
R8 technology has already been tested and implemented in several buildings in Ülemiste City since 2020 so as in Tallinn’s largest commercial, business, and office buildings. In addition, R8 operates in 14 countries around the world, such as Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Poland, Finland, and Latvia. Ülemiste City has become the first quarter to be almost entirely managed by artificial intelligence.
Gert Jostov, the CEO of Technopolis Ülemiste, said, “Just as Estonia has become one of the smartest digital countries in Europe, Ülemiste City has become the birthplace of Estonia’s most advanced companies and solutions that create, support and recognize our era’s coolest solutions. Today, we can say that by implementing a single solution in our buildings, we achieve climate, energy-saving, and efficiency goals at once. These are significant priorities for any modern company, which regulators, financiers, as well as customers and clients, value today.”
The AI-based solution created by R8 proactively manages building technology systems, taking into account changes in energy consumption in the past, present, and future, such as building occupancy. In addition, the program learns over time how each specific building reacts to minor changes in external temperature, sunlight, wind direction, humidity etc. This means that buildings managed by artificial intelligence not only react but proactively prepare for future situations using available and learned data. As a result of hundreds and thousands of small changes per day, each building achieves significant savings and the best energy efficiency.
“As a founder member of the Green Tiger and a developer of a sustainable construction roadmap, we have calculated that the building’s entire life cycle footprint accounts for 32% of its energy consumption. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to apply different technologies to reduce this footprint during the building’s lifetime, and R8 Technologies has been a great help to us in this regard,” said Ursel Velve, CEO of Mainor Ülemiste.
Guido Pärnits, Director of Ülemiste Centre: “We are constantly looking for ways to use energy more efficiently, and since 2020, we have used artificial intelligence to manage the centre’s technical systems, which saved the center about €750,000 and 1,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions last year. The latter is equivalent to the annual emissions of a small manufacturing plant or the carbon sequestration of approximately 65,000 adult trees in a year.”
According to Siim Täkker, CEO of R8, providing high-quality indoor climate to clients in the Ülemiste city area is a very important task for the company, and ensuring this with minimal costs has become R8’s primary task. He says that due to the volatile energy market, it is still too early to say how much financial and carbon emission savings R8 will achieve for the entire Tallinn’ quarter, but he believes that it is realistic to talk about more than 2000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions avoided and over 20% energy savings for the entire quarter in the perspective of a year 2023.
“In Estonia, there is a lively debate about which energy source is the greenest: wind, solar, or wood. The fact is that carbon is emitted into the atmosphere with every unit of energy consumed. The only way to prevent this is to not use energy and to optimize resource use in the real estate sector. The greenest energy is the energy that is not consumed,” Täkker added.
According to the CEO of R8, with the addition of green energy to the grid, the real estate sector will increasingly see volatile price fluctuations throughout the day. However, Täkker points out that a fully automated artificial intelligence-based management solution adjusts consumption according to market and frequency prices, thereby mitigating the impact of price fluctuations on clients.
R8 Technologies’ solution currently manages approximately 2.5% of Estonia’s electricity consumption, saving European real estate owners about €7 million annually. In addition, clients are also achieving their ESG goals and reporting. R8’s largest clients in Estonia are the largest shopping centers in Tallinn, as well as office buildings, hotels, and State Property objects. The solution has been widely awarded internationally, and its creators and developers are mainly graduates, doctoral students, and current lecturers of TalTech’s heating and ventilation and intelligent management systems programs.