Saskatoon, SASK — AI technology is coming to the construction sector, whether people are ready or not. An online retrofit tool, created by Open Technologies, assigns energy scores and creates a customized roadmap to see what actions can be made to reduce energy consumption.
The Home Energy Map utilizes publicly available home information from tax assessment records, such as type of home, year built, and floorplan, and was trained using anonymized information from a large dataset of real Saskatoon homes that had gone through the EnerGuide for Homes process.
“Just like home appliances have energy labels that indicate how efficient they are, this map provides a digital energy score for Saskatoon homes. The lower the score, the more efficient the energy use in that home,” says Jeanna South, director of sustainability for the City of Saskatoon. “The Home Energy Map helps residents to visualize their home energy use in a different way, comparing it against other homes in the city, and providing them with a list of renovations they can consider to help decrease energy use.”
According to the City, due to Saskatoon’s extreme temperatures, a lot of energy is used in residential buildings, with 42 per cent of the City’s total greenhouse gas emissions coming from heating, cooling, and providing power to homes. As such, the core objective of the Home Energy Map is to help homeowners build momentum on a retrofit journey and to connect them with resources, such as energy coaching, explains the City.
Users of the program will have the option to create an account for their home address and provide additional information about their home, including any upgrades they have completed so that their total energy score is updated.
The home energy score is publicly visible. The tool also provides a set of personalized recommendations to account holders for renovations that could help overall reduce energy consumption.
“The goal of our software tools is to help cities and homeowners to see which actions in which buildings will generate the biggest energy and emissions savings,” says Donovan Woollard, Open Technologies’ CEO. “We applaud the City of Saskatoon for its leadership in setting an ambitious reduction target, and for investing in tools like the Home Energy Map to provide a roadmap on how to get there.”
Nearly 70,000 ground-oriented homes in Saskatoon will receive a virtual energy score via the Home Energy Map. Homeowners can use the online tool to see the overall distribution of energy use by neighbourhood, housing type and house age.