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Innovative Solutions Inc.

‘What-if’ Tool: Tracking Energy Consumption

Headshot of Hossam GaberBusiness owners could save money, time and resources thanks to a new software application designed to review energy consumption and provide ideas for cost-saving measures. The application is the result of collaboration between researchers and students at UOIT and Innovative Solutions Inc.

Dr. Hossam Gaber, an associate professor in UOIT’s Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science, wanted to develop a tool for energy consumption with optimization based on monitoring and control algorithms. He knew partnering with Innovative Solutions, a company that specializes in cost-saving tools for their clients, could help his intellectual property become marketable.

Roland Kielbasiewicz, president of Oshawa-based Innovative Solutions, knew a tool like this could be a valuable component within an energy audit his company was implementing. He also saw that Dr. Gaber’s idea and background in innovative energy had the potential to re-position his company within a changing industry.

To cover the cost of the project, they sought out funding and were awarded with a grant from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) through its Applied Research and Commercialization (ARC) Initiative. ARC aims to accelerate innovation and improve productivity for globally competitive southwestern Ontario companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. FedDev Ontario accomplishes this by providing funding to universities so faculty and students can work directly with industry businesses on innovative projects.

Under the direction of Dr. Gaber, undergraduate, master’s and PhD students designed a prototype for a ‘what if’ tool. This tool uses data collected by software and reconfigures it based on changed variables such as lights being left on or machines operating at a certain speeds, to provide the client with energy and cost-saving ideas. The software is also able to communicate instant alerts if the equipment becomes damaged or disrupted.

“The funding made it possible to hire students as research assistants so they could get more experience on technologies and methodologies on these sorts of systems,” says Dr. Gaber. “Creating the prototype was a great hands-on learning opportunity for the students. They gained a lot of knowledge by developing, researching and analyzing data every day. They were also provided with exposure to the industry through working on the project and attending conferences.”

When the FedDev Ontario funded project came to a close in early 2102, Innovative Solutions Inc. was presented with a working model that is currently approaching commercialization.

“Ultimately we aiming to license the product out to energy consulting companies and engineering companies,” says Kielbasiewicz. “If it is successful in the commercialization phase, the application would give Innovative Solutions the ability to provide clients with energy efficiency and savings suggestions using accurate power consumption predictions. Sustainability is gaining relevance in the global community, so the application has the potential to make a big difference in energy consumption and environmental awareness.”

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