Digitalising Building Energy Performance Optimisation
A spin-off company of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, Qi Square was founded in July 2017. We set out to solve the problem of slow progress and inefficiencies in green building projects caused by the lack of data transparency and coordination between the various industry stakeholders.
Achieving greater sustainability outcomes in any built environment project requires the building's stakeholders to have a clear understanding of its lifetime energy performance. Qi Square’s cloud-based platform ‘BtrLyf’ creates a collaborative ecosystem that allows all involved stakeholders to connect and share data, driving faster adoption of sustainable solutions. We leverage artificial intelligence and physics to enable quick, remote, and affordable virtual energy audits for buildings, and intelligently match them to the most relevant solution providers and experts.
Qi Square faced one key challenge at the outset: It was difficult to gather the necessary building data and to ensure that the virtual energy audits are accurate and relevant to the industry. This is where BEAMP proved helpful.
BEAMP Cycle 1 gave us the opportunity to collaborate with JTC on its J-Ops system. As a government industrial developer that manages more than 5 million sqm of facilities across Singapore, J-Ops is a centralised integrated command centre that pools and analyses data from JTC's building management systems. J-Ops was primarily designed to improve productivity in JTC's operations allow for equipment monitoring, optimisation and fault rectification of building assets such as air-conditioning system, fire protection system, lifts, and so on. However, its use for longer-term sustainability planning was limited. A digital assessment tool such as BtrLyf could help JTC discover retrofit and investment opportunities for better energy performance in the long run. We needed to make BtrLyf's virtual energy audits more accurate so we could qualify and quantify long-term sustainability solutions for JTC.
Through our pilot with JTC, we managed to identify 11-20% energy savings for three JTC buildings. In the process, we were able to use granular data from the J-Ops system to improve the accuracy of our energy audits. The improved BtrLyf digital tool helped us gain recognition from the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) as a pre-approved solution under the Advanced Digital Solutions support grant for local SMEs.
The BEAMP experience has been enriching for Qi Square. Having a strong industry player like JTC and a grant from Enterprise Singapore really helped us build momentum in the industry. We were able to augment our team with outstanding talent. We had great exposure to customers, partners, and investors. In fact, one of our key customers was present when we pitched at the Demo Day of the International Built Environment Week (IBEW) in 2019.
Over the past year, we have worked with valuable customers like DBS Bank, Singtel, and Mercatus. We have also strengthened our research partnership with NTU to keep improving our technology.
The best part of BEAMP was that it was demand-driven. A potential customer was willing to co-develop the solution with us. This was super helpful, as innovators often get hung up on technological advances but do not necessarily solve specific problems. This project helped us discover what data was really out there and, in turn, how our innovative approach could benefit a customer. The feedback we received was invaluable in helping us improve our offerings.
We are exploring expansion into overseas markets. We are also looking to open our solution to a wider range of partners, to obtain more data, improve our solution and offer a suite of complementary solutions. Overall, BtrLyf is poised to be the digital built environment ecosystem platform of choice for co-creating and accelerating sustainable net zero buildings globally.
Director, Qi Square