Note: In a previous blog post, we discussed several innovative companies backed by Constellation Technology Ventures, a venture investment organization within Exelon Corporation. These forward-thinking companies included ChargePoint, Inc., Powerhouse Dynamics and Stem, Inc., each a leader in energy efficiency and innovative renewable technology. In this three-part series, we’ll dive deeper into these companies and why they represent important growth opportunities for commercial businesses.
Powerhouse Dynamics knows an energy manager’s work is never complete. With its flagship software SiteSage, the company strives to make energy management easier and more efficient for people managing multiple commercial facilities under 15,000 square feet.
Here are just a few of the ways automated energy management may help commercial businesses save money.
1. HVAC Monitoring and Control
Whether you’re operating restaurants, residential properties or large commercial buildings, heating and cooling are some of your biggest expenses. In fact, the U.S. Small Business Administration estimates HVAC systems account for about 40 percent of the power used in the average commercial building. Even with an experienced person managing the HVAC systems, the constant ups, downs and inefficiencies of manual controls can lead to lost dollars.
On the other hand, an automated energy management system allows for hands-off regulation of your buildings’ temperatures.
Airflow, outside temperature, occupancy and other variables make it difficult for a human to choose the most efficient strategies. In addition, it can be nearly impossible for a person to notice gradual equipment performance degradation or to catch a brewing issue before it results in uncomfortable indoor temperatures. However, SiteSage can do all of this with ease.
2. Equipment Management
If you’re working for a restaurant, convenience store, or other food services organization, you probably face many inefficiencies in managing other power-hungry equipment, such as refrigeration and kitchen equipment. Making sure that equipment is only on when it needs to be on and that refrigeration equipment is operating efficiently can be a major challenge, particularly when you’re managing a large number of facilities. An automated system may help you achieve peak productivity and efficient energy use. Moreover, in the case of food services, equipment problems can also affect food safety and quality. Systems like SiteSage can manage equipment of almost any type, including food preparation and storage equipment. It can alert you to problems with equipment to help avoid failure and expensive downtime, and can even validate that repairs have been performed properly in real-time.
3. Automated Lighting
Telecom and data centers and other around-the-clock businesses require 24/7 control of their lighting systems. Still, not every room needs to stay lit all the time.
Instead of keeping all of the lights on at once – or staffing multiple people to manage them – you can spend only the energy you need.
In restaurants, retail stores and other businesses that are closed overnight, there are additional opportunities to save by managing lighting schedules remotely. Sophisticated systems like SiteSage let you trigger on and off events based on store hours, sunrise/sunset or the time of day. They also let you schedule extended hours for special events, or reduced hours for holidays in advance, so you’re only paying for lighting you really need.
4. Real-Time Analytics
A key way to ensure energy efficiency in the long run is to monitor, adjust and re-assess your energy strategies. A watchful eye is also key for spotting performance problems and finding faulty equipment. An automated system can accomplish both tasks. SiteSage’s secure, cloud-based architecture can remotely monitor equipment within your enterprise, flag low performers and pinpoint energy efficiency opportunities.
5. Tenant Services
If you’re operating multi-family housing or multi-merchant properties, automated energy management may benefit your tenants, as well. With the right setup, you can help them track their own water, power and gas usage, so they can keep their expenditures under control. This may also enable them to inform you of problems, such as water leaks and equipment malfunctions. This value-add is a way to maintain good relationships with tenants and perhaps attract new ones.
To learn about how your business can benefit from automated energy management, contact us today.