We at Leanheat keep talking about artificial intelligence. It is a smart way of handling the cutting of peak power loads. We are also utilising the possibilities provided by the Internet of Things.

The IoT solutions we have developed can be used for decreasing the peak power demand by utilising the heat retained by buildings. Our artificial intelligence can anticipate the times when peak power is required in the district heating grid and prepare for this. Artificial intelligence can be used for heating the homes to be a half a degree warmer in anticipation of the peak moment when power is needed to heat a vast amount of water and, respectively, decrease heating power when hot water is requiring more power. The heat retained by buildings keeps homes pleasantly warm for the time when heating power is decreased. When warm water for showering is no longer needed in large quantities, the artificial intelligence increases heating again.

Room temperatures are monitored centrally through a sensor in each apartment. By monitoring such data, the artificial intelligence ensures that a comfortable temperature in homes is maintained at all times.

Artificial intelligence is needed due to the complexity of the systems

We use artificial intelligence expressly to control temperatures, because the prediction of temperature fluctuation is a complex task. Apartment temperatures have a wide range of fluctuation. We know this because our artificial intelligence is already monitoring heating in more than 15,000 Finnish apartments, and we monitor their temperature fluctuations in order to keep improving our product as well.

At the same time, the required savings can be created with very minor anticipatory measures. Direct sunlight can easily make a room more than five degrees warmer,  but even correctly timed warming by half a degree, and a correctly scheduled decrease in heating power, are enough for us to create savings. The thing is to manage the process precisely and to know what to do.

In Finland, the cutting of consumption peaks shows up in costs

More and more often, Finnish housing co-operatives and other property owners pay for district heat partly on the basis of consumption peaks. Up to even half of district heat payments can be determined on the basis of how much heat is consumed during the peak moments. This is the type of invoicing model which several European countries are in the process of adopting.

There are grounds for such an invoicing basis. Heat production facilities must be built to match the required capacity during peak consumption moments, even if such heating capacity is normally not required. The construction of power plants and other equipment is very costly, and in the end, it is the heat consumers who will be paying for it. This is exactly why intervening in peak consumption is a good way to keep creating savings.

Vesa Jaakkola
Leanheat, VP Sales, International