Powerhouse Dynamics Blog

30% price hike?! Restaurants, C-Stores & Retail: Time to Manage Energy!

Posted on Nov 5, 2014 10:47:00 AM by Helen Fairman

This morning, a local Boston radio station broadcast a story about the projected 30-50% rise in electric prices this winter across New England. Because the price hike is due to structural issues including a lack of natural gas transmission capability (over 50% of electricity is generated by natural gas in New England), it is unlikely to be temporary, and has resulted in a dubious distinction: New England is likely to have the highest natural gas rates on earth, according to Taff Tschamler of energy supplier North American Power. Ouch.

While this isn't a surprise to industry watchers - it's been predicted for several years - it's likely to hit home (or more to the point, hit the wallet) for New England consumers and businesses this winter. So what are energy intensive enterprises like multi-unit restaurant, convenience store, and retail chains to do to prepare for the inevitable pinch? Other than hoping for a warm winter or waiting for multi-billion dollar pipelines to be built, how can these businesses protect themselves from the worst bottom line effects of these astronomical price increases?

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Disruptive Technologies: Why companies need to embrace change

Posted on Oct 6, 2014 4:00:00 PM by Jay Fiske

This afternoon at MUFSO, I listened to a compelling discussion about emerging technologies and the disruptions they pose to our current business models and strategies. David Starmer, vice president of Global IT Store Systems at Dunkin’ Brands, Gary Price, president of Corner Bakery Café and Mark Freeman, senior manager of Global Dining Services shared insights into the technologies we should pay close attention to and those that are not worth the investment.

A major topic that was only briefly discussed was the growing conversation around the value of automating operations for energy management.

Historically, energy has been considered an “uncontrollable” cost by most food service businesses. The amount of data flowing in has always been concentrated in a report at the end of the week or month with an overarching retroactive perspective. Other than these reports, energy is essentially an invisible commodity, with the only observable amenity being lighting – a relatively low-cost resource.

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Posted in: Restaurant Energy Management, smart building technology

Cultivating a Food Safety Culture in Your Restaurant

Posted on Oct 6, 2014 11:30:00 AM by Jay Fiske

At MUFSO today, we attended an interesting presentation about an important topic for all restaurant organizations: safety. Customers and employees are the driving forces behind any successful restaurant so their safety and well-being is a top priority for restaurant managers. When a restaurant is identifying opportunities to keep its customers and employees safe, it doesn’t focus only on facility safety issues like using “caution wet floor” signs. Rather, restaurant management and food preparation personnel are constantly focused on the safety of the food they’re serving. While many angles of food safety can be discussed, Powerhouse Dynamics is most focused on preventive measures, instead of responsive tactics, when it comes to the food safety conversation.

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Posted in: restaurant, food safety

Global Partners Chooses Powerhouse Dynamics for Energy Management

Posted on Oct 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM by Helen Fairman

Partnership Deploys SiteSage™ System in Pilot Energy Management Initiative at Select Convenience Stores in New England  

Boston, Mass., October 3, 2014 – Powerhouse Dynamics announced today that Global Partners LP is participating in a pilot program to evaluate the SiteSage enterprise energy and asset management system at a select number of Alltown and Mr. Mike’s brand convenience stores within Global’s retail portfolio.   

“With approximately 120 company-operated convenience stores within our network, effectively monitoring electricity use and managing energy expenses is extremely important to the bottom line,” said Jamie Cook, Director of Construction and Maintenance within Global’s Gasoline Distribution and Station Operations division. “SiteSage enables us to identify in detail the individual drivers of energy costs, including walk-in coolers, pumps, lights and HVAC systems. 

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Posted in: convenience store, c-store

How did Arby's Reduce Energy Use 7.6%? Case Study and Webinar

Posted on Sep 23, 2014 3:57:26 PM by Helen Fairman

We love our customers. So when one of them accomplishes something truly impressive, we can't help but crow about it a bit. When Arby's announced recently that they'd reduced their energy intensity by 7.6% across the company in the past year, on their way to a planned 15% reduction, we were thrilled to have been a part of their very successful strategy. 

So how did they do it? We thought you might ask that. So we put together a case study telling the stoy of how Arby's decided to install SiteSage at all 900 of their U.S. company-owned restaurants, and how it's enabled them to reduce energy use and protect food safety.

And, we have a very exciting opportunity for you to be able to hear about how this amazing reduction was achieved directly from Arby's own Frank Inoa, Arby's Senior Director of Operations Engineering. On Tuesday, September 30 at 2pm Eastern, we will be hosting a webinar entitled "Efficiency Matters: Putting Energy Management Into Practice at Arby's". Just click the link below to register. We look forward to having you join us!

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Posted in: Energy Efficiency, Arby's, food safety

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

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