How Lovelock's Novacene equips energy infrastructure with AI for future sustainability

In the quest for a sustainable future, the Novacene philosophy, proposed by the renowned environmentalist James Lovelock, offers a compelling perspective.

Cover of James Lovelock's Novacene book

In the quest for a sustainable future, the Novacene philosophy, proposed by the renowned environmentalist James Lovelock, offers a compelling perspective.

Novacene, a term coined by Lovelock, signifies the new age of hyperintelligence where humans and artificial intelligence (AI) coexist and collaborate to manage the world's energy infrastructure more efficiently and sustainably.

The Novacene philosophy underscores the importance of AI in managing the world's energy infrastructure. It posits that AI, with its superior computational abilities, can optimize energy consumption, reduce waste, and contribute significantly to carbon reduction efforts.

One practical example of this is the orchestration of energy consumption in buildings. Consider a school during the summer holidays. Traditionally, the energy systems in such a building would continue to operate, albeit at a reduced level, leading to unnecessary energy consumption. However, with AI, we can create smart buildings that 'know' when to switch off completely, thereby conserving energy.

Building upon the initial discussion, the Novacene philosophy's application becomes even more potent when we incorporate concepts like Digital Twins and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Digital Twin technology, a crucial component of this philosophy, creates a digital mirror of a physical entity, such as a building. This digital representation encapsulates not just the physical structure but crucial details of the building's systems and processes, such as area, height, usage, and location. For instance, Digital Twins can monitor the usage patterns of different rooms, track occupancy times, and record environmental conditions like temperature and humidity.

In the context of energy management, Digital Twins can assist in calculating and optimizing a building's energy consumption. They can identify areas of energy wastage or suggest energy efficiency improvements. For example, a Digital Twin of a school building could simulate modifications to the building, such as heating changes during summer holidays, aiding in planning and decision-making to reduce energy consumption.

The Internet of Things (IoT) further enhances this capability. IoT devices, such as smart meters and sensors, can provide real-time data about energy usage, environmental conditions, and occupancy. This data can feed into the Digital Twin, enabling it to make more accurate predictions and decisions.

For instance, IoT sensors could detect when a room is unoccupied and relay this information to the Digital Twin. The Digital Twin could then decide to turn off the lights in that room, thereby saving energy. Similarly, during school holidays, IoT devices could detect the lack of activity in the building and inform the Digital Twin, which could then decide to switch off the heating or cooling systems.


In conclusion, the integration of AI, Digital Twins, and IoT under the Novacene philosophy provides a powerful framework for managing the world's energy infrastructure. It allows us to orchestrate energy consumption, reduce carbon emissions, and move towards a more sustainable future. The Novacene era, as envisioned by Lovelock, is not just about the rise of AI, but about harnessing its potential for the greater good of our planet.

Curious to discover more?
Start to control your building driving better performance, productivity and waste reduction