Powerhouse Dynamics Blog

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

Spring Cleaning: 4 Sure-Fire Ways to Start Saving Money on Energy Now, and Keep Saving All Summer Long

Posted on Apr 1, 2014 3:02:00 AM by Jason Roeder

For most parts of the Unites States, the cold of winter is finally receding and the warmth of the summer is now on the horizon. As you assemble your spring cleaning list, don’t forget about the wide variety of equipment that should be on that list. Based on the thousands of pieces of individual equipment that we’ve monitored, we’ve found that the energy use by specialized electric equipment in the winter can be nearly the same as the electrical use by air conditioning systems in the summer, which get a lot more attention from facilities managers. You can start saving money on energy right now by adding these energy hogs to your facility prep list as you turn over to the new season.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, HVAC, Energy Efficiency Commentary, electricity bills, spring cleaning

Selecting a Commercial Energy Management System: 6 Key Questions You Should Ask

Posted on Mar 25, 2014 10:09:00 AM by Mark Hardardt

Mark Hardardt is Powerhouse Dynamics' VP of Sales

In my role as sales leader, I travel quite a bit and meet with many customers and prospects who either have deployed or are thinking about deploying an Energy Management System (EMS) for their multi-site retail, restaurant or convenience store concept. Many of these companies have tried systems in the past that were either too expensive for a company rollout or just didn’t provide the payback expected. The good news is that the technology to monitor and control these assets has greatly improved at price points that allow for attractive payback timeframes.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency Commentary

What does being awarded a patent mean to Powerhouse Dynamics?

Posted on Mar 11, 2014 7:49:00 AM by Jay Fiske

Powerhouse Dynamics’ new patent, which we originally applied for in 2009 (yes, five years is not an unusually long time for a patent to make its way through the USPTO), has to do with SiteSage’s ability to identify under-performing equipment. Essentially, the patent covers our combination of: sensors placed on electrical breakers dedicated to specific pieces of equipment, real-time energy consumption data for equipment uploaded to a database in the cloud, and our software algorithms, which compare the latest data with historical data to flag problematic patterns.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency Commentary, sitesage, patent, powerhouse dynamics

Too Hot? Too Cold? Just Right: The 3 Crucial Keys to HVAC/R Compressor Savings

Posted on Mar 5, 2014 6:31:00 AM by Jason Roeder

Too hot. Too cold. Just right. Just like all consumers, Goldilocks expected that her preferences would be met. Luckily for the three bears, she didn’t have social media and rating websites like Yelp to broadcast the fact that her first two bowls weren’t to her liking! Today, consumers do have those powerful tools, and it’s even more important to make sure that their needs are met. When it comes to customer satisfaction and guest comfort for businesses like restaurants or retail, getting everything just right can’t be done without your heating, ventilation, cooling, and refrigeration equipment (HVAC/R) performing impeccably. And the heart of this equipment is a modern wonder called the compressor. Compressors are the component of your air conditioning and refrigeration that do the real work to enable the transfer of heat from inside the building to outside.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency Commentary, electricity bills, savings, rapid cycling, energy monitoring, overloaded compressors, compressor, excessive runtime, Jason Roeder, temperature monitoring, restaurant, compressor monitoring

Restaurant Facility Management Association (RFMA) Show Roundup: Texas Style

Posted on Feb 21, 2014 12:35:00 PM by Mark Hardardt

The Restaurant Facility Management Association (RFMA) held its 10th annual conference at the Texan Gaylord in Dallas this past week. From all indications it was a successful event for both attendees and exhibitors, with lots of buzz and fanfare over the 3 days. And for many of us from the Midwest and Northeast, having sunny 70 degree weather wasn’t too bad either.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency Commentary, Restaurant Facility Management Association, Texas, Conference, RFMA, Rodeo

Energy Utilities: Friend or Foe to Restaurant and Convenience Store Chains?

Posted on Feb 18, 2014 2:33:00 AM by Jay Fiske


Energy bills can often be one of the larger expenses for an organization – especially for companies managing chains of restaurants or convenience stores, which typically consume three times more energy per square foot than other commercial facilities.

Energy costs can also be frustrating to try to control, and many utilities don't seem to be making it easy for companies to do so.

For many reasons, it’s easy to criticize utilities as a foe:

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency Commentary, electricity bills, convenience store, c-store, DSIRE, SCE, restaurant chains, PECO, efficiency retrofits, jay fiske

Has Target Made EMS a Target? 3 Ways to Ensure Your EMS Is Not an Open Door

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 7:39:00 AM by Martin Flusberg

Cross-posted from Energy Manager Today

By Martin Flusberg, CEO, Powerhouse Dynamics

The recent revelation that the data breach at Target originated with the theft of network credentials from one of their HVAC/R contractors has generated significant, and legitimate, attention to the issue of data security of Energy Management Systems (EMS).

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Posted in: Energy Management Systems, energy manager today, Energy Efficiency Commentary, data security, security

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