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Powerhouse Dynamics Blog

Mapping Massachusetts' smart building technology cluster

Posted on Aug 27, 2014 8:00:00 AM by Helen Fairman

When a number of companies focus on a similar goal, the coopetition helps everyone grow. That’s why clusters of companies tend to work, whether that’s a cluster of consumer startups, mobile apps companies or even restaurants.

We knew that we were part of a large and growing clean energy cluster in Massachusetts, but it surprised us when we sat down to look at the companies working on smart building technologies and realized how many of us are located in and around Boston. Hop on the T, jump on a bike or even burn just one or two gallons of gas and you can find no fewer than 22 of us, all working toward a similar goal. That’s why we put the Massachusetts smart building technology cluster on an interactive map.

So how did this cluster come together, and why here?

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Posted in: massachusetts, smart building technology

Energy Efficiency, the Hidden Energy Resource

Posted on Aug 19, 2014 9:30:00 AM by Colin Mew

Energy efficiency is often overlooked in debates over energy production and use. We often hear about renewable technologies like solar and wind, and there’s lots of talk about reducing carbon emissions by switching from coal-generated power to natural gas. If you are concerned about climate change, these are all important steps in reducing the carbon intensity of the U.S. economy. However, energy efficiency improvements and reducing total energy intensity have been shown to have a much greater impact on CO2 emissions than changing the supply-side of our energy consumption.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, Energy Efficiency Commentary

New Options for Energy Management & Control in Smaller Commercial Facilities: Guest Post on Construction Today

Posted on Aug 18, 2014 1:35:14 PM by Helen Fairman

Our CEO, Martin Flusberg, has a terrific guest post on Construction Today's blog, entitled "New Options for Energy Management and Control for Smaller Commercial Facilities." Check it out!

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Restaurant energy management and enterprise-level data analysis

Posted on Aug 12, 2014 4:11:15 PM by Colin Mew

Companies now have access to more data about their business operations than ever before. The problem some face is how to better manage and analyze the data collected. For many businesses without the bandwidth or ability to utilize that data, it can feel like being trapped in a virtual library without reading glasses. Data management is also a problem for the restaurant industry, particularly for restaurant chains with multiple locations. How can energy, inventory and personnel be managed?  What numbers are important? How should companies respond to data trends? These are all big questions being answered by a growing number of software and data management service companies, including Powerhouse Dynamics and our SiteSage platform.

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Posted in: Restaurant Energy Management, Energy Efficiency, enterprise energy management

Sustainability Among Top 10 Restaurant Trends in 2014

Posted on Aug 5, 2014 9:30:00 AM by Colin Mew

There is a clear trend toward sustainability in the restaurant industry. According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Culinary Forecast, the top 10 trends in 2014 are all related to either environmental issues or nutrition and health. In fact, the third most important trend is environmental sustainability itself.

Consumers are now more aware than ever of where their food is sourced, waste generation and disposal, recycling, and energy consumption - and will use their power to support restaurants that share their values.

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Posted in: Energy Management Systems, Arby's, Sustainability, Quick Service Restaurants, Fast Casual Dining, Chipotle

Convenience Store Energy Management

Posted on Jul 30, 2014 10:47:24 AM by Colin Mew

High energy bills are a problem faced by convenience store chains across the country – with 24 hour operations requiring constant lighting, heating/cooling, and refrigeration, energy costs can feel out of control in these small facilities. We talk a lot about energy use here at Powerhouse Dynamics, but even for us, the statistics on convenience store energy use are astounding. Just like restaurants, c-stores use 3 times the energy per square foot of other commercial spaces. But stores can vary widely, with some (such as 24 hour locations or those with a quick service restaurant) consuming 7 times the amount of energy per square foot of other types of commercial spaces, according to NACS. Let’s take a look at one of our typical C-Store customers.

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, Convenience Store Energy Management, Energy Management Systems 2.0

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 3:29:00 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 costs can be even higher. 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

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