MEP CA AB 1103

2017 in Review: Artificial Intelligence and the Era of States and Cities

MEP Energy Star Certificationr In order to move forward with purpose one must be aware of the path they have taken to get to where they are. Many of us are optimistic for the New Year, and have our personal resolutions that we are working toward to make 2018 prosperous and healthy. In our personal lives we take stock of our past and make goals for the future. Similar to the individual scale we need to be coming together as a nation and a global community to prepare for a 2018 that maximizes sustainability and profitability by evaluating what emerging trends and exciting new technologies 2017 brought us. It is equally vital that we make note of the warning signs last year gave us, and course correct where necessary or beneficial. These conversations will enable us to optimize the future of both our planet and our civilization.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is a term that conjures up a lot of fantastic imagery in people's minds. As it turns out we don't need the tired science fiction trope of sentient robots wiping out humanity in order to save the planet for A.I. to have a positive impact on the environment. There is a vast array of ways we can implement A.I. technology to diminish our future negative impacts on the environment, mitigate the problems we have already wrought, and streamline industry and human activity.

Predictability is one of the biggest hurdles the renewable energy industry will have to overcome. Wind and solar power rely on weather patterns and other variable factors to generate electricity. It can be difficult to anticipate just how much power will be generated at any given time. A.I. is posed to help mitigate this barrier to the pervasive use of renewable energy. One power company in Vermont is combining weather models with machine-learning capabilities in the hopes of creating an accurate, automated forecast system for solar and wind power plants.

The applications for A.I. go much further than modeling big data and prediction. Google is already a sustainability powerhouse, but in using A.I. they are compounding their considerable achievements. Google announced in 2016 that their global operations are powered 100% renewably. Their average data center consumes 50% less energy than a typical data center. As if these facts weren't impressive enough Google just shattered the proverbial glass ceiling with their DeepMind A.I. Using DeepMind machine learning to explore variable scenarios, the company was able to map their data centers energy use and optimize efficiency. The result was the reduction of energy used to cool the tech giant's data centers by 40%.

As one reads up on Artificial Intelligence with blockchain on the mind (see our November 2017 Blog post), a potential meshing of the two technologies makes itself evident. Experts are already discussing ways to use blockchain and machine learning to complement one another. One problem with A.I. is tracking the routes it took to come to a conclusion or to prove the results once gathered. In other words, you make it to a destination but lack the ability to explain how you got there. Blockchain could solve this explainability problem by providing a trail to follow and allowing auditors to examine the route a subject A.I. took, which would result in added confidence it its findings.

These examples only scrape the surface. Resource conservation, climate modeling, diagnosing and solving power outages, integrating microgrids, and managing smart grids are just a handful of the thousands of proposed sustainability-related uses for Artificial Intelligence currently being explored.

The Era of States and Cities

The Federal Government has been rolling back many sustainability related regulations and policies since President Trump took office. This has reduced the role of the federal government in pushing sustainability; in 2017 that void was filled at the state level. Thirty-eight states, representing 80% of the American population, have passed laws mandating some level of clean energy for their energy industries. 2017 also saw the United States' withdraw from the Paris Climate accords. However, 14 state governors stated their intentions to continue to uphold their pledges.

Cities have also stepped up to the plate. Across America many cities are adopting policies to make their metropolitan areas more sustainable. San Francisco and Los Angeles both have energy benchmarking ordinances that require buildings of a certain size to disclose their energy use to the cities. In Austin, Texas a 'smart grid' has been deployed since 2003. Using smart meters and devices the city has been able to create an electric grid that communicates with itself to increase efficiency and minimize waste via hundreds of thousands of sensors and devices.

It is not just states and cities pushing sustainable policy and practices. Corporations are increasingly adopting sustainable ideology and practices. See our February 2017 blog post on 'Corporate Sustainability' for more information on the progress being made in this sector.


We at MEP are contributing to the sustainability cause as well! 2017 was a great year for our company. We were able to increase our ENERGY STAR certifications from the previous year certifying 240 buildings in 2017. MEP was also honored to receive the 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Service and Product Provider Award. This is the second year our company has received a Partner of the Year award.

ENERGY STAR is not the only program that made 2017 a year of sustainability success for MEP. We have been assisting our clients in understanding and complying with State and City energy benchmarking and transparency laws. From California's AB-802 to San Francisco's Energy Benchmarking ordinance we have assisted dozens of buildings with analyzing and submitting their data to state and city officials. 2017 saw the release of Los Angeles' brand new energy and water efficiency program (EBEWE) as well.

We strive to educate our clients on these ordinances and how their building is consuming resources. Be it via social media, our company website, or our relationships with building owners and operators across the country we strive to keep the public abreast on the latest developments in sustainability and energy efficiency.

It is clear that 2017 brought many exciting developments. But in order to manifest a more sustainable future we must always strive to stay on a path that uses the resources available to us in the most responsible, rational ways possible. New technology and policy can only take us so far if we are not continuing to educate ourselves on how our behaviors impact the world around, and searching for ways to improve. If we enter into this New Year with dialogue, thoughtfulness, and care then we will surely find ourselves heading in the right direction.

This blog article has been posted by Maximum Energy Professionals, a mechanical engineering firm located in Torrance, CA. For information on Sustainability Services including: ENERGY STAR utility benchmarking and award certification, California AB802 Compliance, ASHRAE energy audits, LEED, and energy conservation/green Mechanical-Electrical-Plumbing design, please give us a call at 310-782-1410 or visit our website at