This announcement has been in the works for a while as our development teams have collaborated to combine Nomad Go’s edge computer vision to control building systems with the intelligent vision sensor IMX500 commercialized by Sony and Microsoft Azure AI.
Why is this such an important milestone?
First, and most importantly, the climate crisis is getting more urgent by the day. I write this as the Seattle area where I live is experiencing yet another abnormally high heat wave, and my lungs hurt from all the wildfire smoke that has settled in and making the skies grey. The impact this has on all living beings is right in front of us. It’s time to act.
Second, most people don’t know that buildings are by far the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GhG), representing 39% of all global GhG. Furthermore, almost 75% of those building-based emissions come from day-to-day operations – heating, cooling, ventilating, and lighting. And to make things worse, it turns out at least 30% of emissions are wasted.
Check out this quote by the US Secretary of Energy, Jennifer M. Granholm:
“America’s 129 million residential and commercial buildings collectively cost well over $400 billion a year to heat, cool, light and power – accounting for 35% of U.S. carbon emissions, 40% of the nation’s energy use, and 75% of electricity use. And yet, buildings waste at least 30% of the energy they consume.”
My hope is that by working with tech leaders like Microsoft and Sony, we will bring awareness to this problem with buildings. Today all buildings run like old-school, static monolithic entities with set schedules that heat, cool and ventilate rooms regardless of if anyone is using the space. We need to digitally transform them, like we’ve done with everything from banking to transportation to commerce, into efficient on-demand systems. The solution we’ve announced today – which does away with set schedules and turns on HVAC only when people are present – significantly helps do this. In our deployments, we’ve seen savings of both energy costs and GhG emissions of over 38%.
Third, it takes a village. Decarbonizing buildings is a complex problem that required a wide range of expertise in physical science, computer science, hardware (both silicon and HVAC systems such as heat pumps) and AI. Nomad Go has some of the smartest computer vision experts in the world, and partners with the most experienced companies in building controls, so adding the best camera company and the leading AI company is the dream team needed to move the climate needle in the right direction.
Finally, cost and ROI. For too long, individuals and companies have been paying a “green premium” to purchase products that emit less greenhouse gases. One of the benefits of the solution we just announced is that it reduces the upfront costs by at least 50%. This, combined with the energy savings, means companies can start seeing a return on their investment in their first year. The natural progression of lower computing costs (see Moore’s law) can now be applied to sustainability. What was impossible just a few years ago – affordable edge computer vision, edge cameras and AI – can now be combined into a solution that is scalable and cost effective.
The need is urgent. The problem is huge. The technology is ready and affordable. Let’s go!