Case Study – RE24 Completed Innovate UK SBRI Funding Round

Posted on 29 November 2023

Background

RE24 Limited won the Innovate UK – SBRI Net zero heat and power upgrades for demand reduction phase 1 competition. RE24 was the leading applicant for the competition under the project Virtual Energy Manager (VEM), a commercial building energy management solution. Johnsey Estates UK LTD collaborated to offer testing and demonstration at their Mamhilad Park Estate.

About The Project – VEM Phase 1

VEM serves as a real-time, data-driven energy auditing tool designed for commercial buildings. It actively identifies, recommends, and oversees energy-saving measures.

Upon receiving data from the selected building, VEM provides insights into energy efficiency, cost savings, and decarbonization. VEM introduces a groundbreaking approach that integrates all energy-consuming aspects within a building, offering technology-driven solutions. The overall VEM product operates through three key functions: Measure, Benchmark, and Implement.

During Phase 1, a comprehensive technical and financial feasibility study was conducted to assess VEM’s viability for commercialization in Phase 2. The technical feasibility study evaluated the capabilities of VEM’s proposed data-driven approach in decision-making to meet defined benchmarks. This involved assessing the compatibility and scalability of the entire system, covering heat, power, people, environment, and data. Simultaneously, the financial feasibility study delved into VEM’s investment costs, potential commercialization pathways, and its overall attractiveness for investment. The results of the feasibility study will guide the selection of the most suitable building portfolio for VEM.

What We Delivered In VEM Phase 1

RE24 conducted a technical feasibility study for VEM Phase 1. The study was conducted by gathering data from various sensors installed in the buildings, including those monitoring power, light, temperature, motion, and humidity.

Subsequently, utilizing PowerBI software, a detailed technical analysis of the collected data was conducted. The identified correlations will play a pivotal role in shaping the decision-making algorithms for VEM.

The key findings from VEM Phase 1 are as follows.

  • distinct energy usage patterns that facilitate the prediction of device usage and user behavior within buildings.
  • the presence of an electric vehicle for facility management with a single charging point, highlighting an opportunity to expand charging infrastructure and decrease overall carbon emissions.
  • a comprehensive financial feasibility study, forecasting a period of ten years into the future. The study revealed a break-even point occurring from 2.5 years onward post the commercialization of VEM.

What We Achieved And Key Lessons Learnt

RE24 was able to finalise VEM project scope for phase 2 from the feasibility study and we partnered with businesses to test VEM prototype during phase 2.

RE24 learnt few lessons too.

Obtaining data for energy audits involves sourcing information from a variety of platforms, devices, and systems. This includes data from energy meters, climate control systems, lighting fixtures, and other relevant sources. The challenge lies in ensuring the security of this data while dealing with the diversity and compatibility of devices. The Virtual Energy Manager (VEM) addresses this by implementing robust security measures to protect data integrity. Additionally, it establishes compatibility protocols to seamlessly integrate data from different sources, ensuring a comprehensive and accurate energy audit.

Energy efficiency is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Buildings vary in structure, purpose, and lifecycle stages, necessitating tailored energy efficiency advice. VEM recognices this diversity and addresses it by gathering data from specified sources such as sensors and APIs. This data is then utilised to train the VEM algorithm, enabling it to provide customised energy advice. By continuously updating and learning from real-time data, VEM ensures that its recommendations remain accurate and relevant, adapting to the evolving needs and conditions of different buildings throughout their lifecycles.

Way Forward

RE24 plan to create the prototype for VEM and showcase its capabilities through demonstrations at strategic locations. Following these demonstrations, RE24 aim to launch the VEM prototype in the market, leveraging a substantial user base established through our existing partnerships. By successfully delivering VEM to these partners, we anticipate gaining market credibility. The initial deployment will focus on specific sectors such as Universities, Schools, Business Parks, and Business Centers, allowing us to fine-tune and optimize VEM’s performance within these selected verticals.

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