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New Australian AI System Evaluates Home Energy Efficiency

A new AI system is being trailed by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and a property data analytics company to determine the energy efficiency of homes throughout the country.

Residential properties, including houses and apartments, contribute to 23% of Australia’s overall electricity consumption and 11% of carbon emissions. Energy-efficient homes are more sustainable, affordable, and comfortable. However, assessing a home’s energy efficiency is not always a simple task.

Although roughly 80% of new homes in Australia are evaluated by the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS), data on energy efficiency for existing properties is limited. Obtaining this information can be a complicated, expensive, and time-consuming process. Increasing awareness of home energy efficiency can encourage homeowners, renters, and industry stakeholders to embrace changes that can lead to lower energy consumption, reduced emissions, and decreased power bills.

Improved knowledge of a home’s energy efficiency can aid both homeowners and the industry in reducing power bills and enhancing energy performance. However, prior to the trial, data on home energy efficiency was either limited or difficult to obtain.

This pilot project merges the company’s four decades of extensive property data with CSIRO’s RapidRate AI model to generate an approximation of a home’s heating and cooling burden and an energy efficiency rating in stars.

At first, the findings from CSIRO’s RapidRate will only be accessible to the company’s central banking and finance clients, but there are intentions to eventually offer it to other market sectors.

CSIRO’s CEO stated that the new AI system is a practical solution that the organisation has developed to assist Australians in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Improving the energy efficiency of homes across the country can lead to reduced emissions and long-term energy and cost savings for homeowners. The goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is a major challenge for Australia, the CEO emphasised but collaborative efforts in science and technology can unlock the solutions needed to achieve this goal.

The Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme (NatHERS) was launched in 1993 to establish a consistent method and regulatory structure for energy ratings of new residential properties. However, accessing the data has not been simple, and information regarding homes constructed before NatHERS’ inception is scarce.

The CEO of the property data analytics company’s international arm stated that the innovative system presents numerous potential advantages for the economy, climate, and society. It can assist in reducing emissions and align with the roadmap towards net-zero by 2050. There is a pressing necessity to address the gaps in knowledge concerning the energy efficiency of existing properties, which can result in more sustainable, efficient, and comfortable homes that are more cost-effective to operate.

The company’s CEO expressed her excitement to lead the way in revolutionising energy efficiency in collaboration with Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, using innovative technology and data to address one of the most significant challenges of this generation. The partnership’s combined expertise and extensive knowledge provide a unique opportunity to make a significant difference in enhancing the energy efficiency performance of the entire residential sector.

As the demand for data on residential energy efficiency grows, CSIRO has developed an artificial intelligence tool called RapidRate, which provides energy rating estimations for established homes.


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