Powerhouse Dynamics Blog

Will Lease Financing do for Energy Efficiency what it did for Solar?

Posted on Jul 21, 2014 3:35:00 PM by Martin Flusberg

There has been a rapid rise in solar installations in the US over the past 5 years. There are a variety of reasons for this, including the sharp drop in the cost of solar panels.

However, there is no question that the introduction of the solar leasing model – where consumers and businesses can get PV systems installed with little or no money down – has also played a significant role. This is evidenced by this graphic, showing the meteoric rise of residential solar leasing in the California market.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, Martin Flusberg, efficiency retrofits, financing

Restaurant energy efficiency: have your roast beef and eat it too!

Posted on Jul 17, 2014 3:29:40 PM by Colin Mew

Every manager of a small box retailer, quick service restaurant or convenience store is concerned with costs. Margins are particularly slim in the restaurant business, typically 3-9% of total revenue. This is partly due to hefty electricity and gas use across the industry. Restaurants, on average, incur 250% to 350% higher utility costs than other commercial buildings

With Quick Service Restaurants, the number is even more dramatic. According to Emerson Climate Technologies, high volume QSRs can use up to 10 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings. What is a manager to do?!?

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Posted in: Restaurant Energy Management, sitesage, restaurant, Arby's, energy savings

Arby's reduces energy use 7.6%, credits Powerhouse Dynamics' SiteSage

Posted on Jul 15, 2014 11:45:17 AM by Helen Fairman

Arbys-logoArby's Restaurant Group (ARG) announced last week that the company managed to knock back its energy use intensity (a measure of the energy use per square foot on average across the entire company) a whopping 7.6% in 2013. As one of two companies partnering with Arby's to achieve this reduction (the other being our Partners at Ecova), Powerhouse Dynamics is thrilled with the success that they've been able to achieve. Arby's commitment to energy efficiency has been impressive: after a competitive process to select an asset and energy management system, they rolled out SiteSage across all 860+ U.S. corporate-owned locations in just over 3 months last year. Their commitment comes straight from the top:

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Posted in: Restaurant Energy Management, Energy Efficiency, Energy Management Systems, sitesage, savings, restaurant chains, powerhouse dynamics, Arby's

EMS 2.0 + Managed Services: Better Together

Posted on Jun 9, 2014 3:10:00 PM by Jay Fiske

In a recent post, I wrote about how next-generation Energy Management Systems (which we call "EMS 2.0") are enabling facilities management firms to be heroes to their clients by providing unprecedented visibility and automated analytics down to the equipment level, allowing service companies to respond more proactively to equipment issues. 

Similarly, EMS 2.0 can enable managed energy services through the remote visibility and control they provide. 

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Posted in: Retail Energy Management, Restaurant Energy Management, Convenience Store Energy Management, Energy Management Systems 2.0, EMS 2.0, small commercial facilities

Chicago Deep Dish with a Side of Sustainability: the National Restaurant Association show

Posted on May 29, 2014 6:07:08 PM by Mark Hardardt

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) just concluded its 95th annual show at McCormick Place in Chicago. Over 63,000 people and 2,000 vendors/suppliers attended to meet colleagues, make new connections, and shape the future of the restaurant and food services industry. Powerhouse Dynamics was featured in the Conserve Solutions Center, where exhibitors offered attendees products and services to help organizations advance their green and sustainability agendas.

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Posted in: Restaurant Energy Management, Conference

Commercial Energy Efficiency: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Posted on May 23, 2014 9:53:00 AM by Martin Flusberg

Among the energy efficiency strategies that are often suggested for reducing energy use in smaller commercial facilities are LED lighting, Variable Speed Drive compressors, Demand-Controlled Ventilation systems, and Energy Management systems. These systems require an initial cash outlay – albeit one that is often offset by a utility rebate - so it is logical to conclude that energy efficiency comes at a price. Said in other terms, energy efficiency is an expense.

But is that really accurate? For these types of purchases, acquisition of the product itself is not the end goal; energy efficiency is the end goal (this is the corollary of the observation that no one buys energy for a facility because they want to own energy – they buy it because they need it to run their equipment). And, the goal of energy efficiency itself is to reduce the amount of energy required to accomplish a specific task – in turn reducing expenses (and increasing profits). Therefore, is commercial energy efficiency an expense – or is it really an investment?

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency Commentary, savings, small commercial facilities, efficiency retrofits, financing

Reducing Electric Bills in Restaurants: The Cost of Hot Water Boosters

Posted on May 15, 2014 5:14:20 PM by Jason Roeder

When it comes to restaurant equipment, there are a lot of choices. For any given kitchen task, there are multiple technologies and multiple vendors. Today, let’s examine dish cleaning. The big decision to be made here is on technology – chemical sanitization vs. thermal sanitization. In other words, do you pay for chemicals or pay for hot water? Setting aside the relative efficacy of these approaches, let’s consider the cost of hot water, and more specifically, the energy required to heat water for cleaning dishes.

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Posted in: Restaurant Energy Management, electricity bills, restaurant

Facility Maintenance Companies: How can EMS 2.0 Make You a Hero?

Posted on Apr 22, 2014 9:34:00 AM by Jay Fiske

With the increasing availability of cost-effective networked thermostats, controls, and sensors, many companies and service providers have unprecedented remote access and visibility into their facilities. We call this emergence of increasingly intelligent building systems Energy Management 2.0, or EMS 2.0.

So for companies that provide facility maintenance services to their clients, how do you leverage the capabilities of EMS 2.0 to turn your company into a service hero?

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Posted in: Energy Management Systems 2.0, EMS 2.0, equipment performance monitoring, facilities management

Small Box Retail: Think Outside the Energy Box

Posted on Apr 16, 2014 2:58:00 PM by Martin Flusberg

Powerhouse Dynamics' CEO Martin Flusberg's latest column in Energy Manager Today is about energy management for small box retail:

Energy Management Systems (EMS’s) are ubiquitous in the big box retail environment, and even in medium box stores, but have been less so in small box retail (defined for our purposes as facilities under 10,000 sq. ft.), although that appears to be changing. What has been unique about the small box world, and why are we seeing it change?

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Posted in: Retail Energy Management, Energy Management Systems 2.0, EMS 2.0

How low can you go? Set backs and old wives' tales

Posted on Apr 15, 2014 2:13:00 PM by Jason Roeder

This post will be a short one because this topic won’t take long to dissect: it’s about set backs, the temperatures we set thermostats to when comfort heating or cooling isn’t required, such as when stores are closed. Quite often I hear concerns from operators or even HVAC technicians regarding night set backs for thermostats. The questions take the form of “Is it true that you use more energy to heat or cool the building back up in the morning than you save?” or “Isn’t it better for the equipment to stay targeted on a narrow range of temperatures?”

Neither of these old wives’ tales are suitable as the basis for your heating and control strategies.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, HVAC, savings, customer comfort

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