Controlling Your Commercial HVAC: Energy Management Solutions VS. Programmable Thermostats

Businesses waste over 60%* of the energy they purchase every year. The majority of this waste results from inefficient heating and cooling in commercial buildings. The second largest offender is poorly optimized equipment usage. With nearly half of energy waste coming from ineffective HVAC schedules, facility and energy managers are quickly turning their attention to better control options for their HVAC units. After a bit of research on potential solutions, we all end up at the same question: What is the difference between an energy management solution and a standard programmable thermostat?

 

An energy management solution will take a more holistic approach to saving energy by treating the site as a complete system, whereas a programmable thermostat will drive down energy costs from HVAC units alone. This difference allows for more energy and operational savings coming from an energy management solution; however, this post will focus on an apples-to-apples comparison of differences at the HVAC level. Here is a list of some of the biggest variations between the two solutions:

 

• A smart thermostat can be programmed for different occupied and unoccupied setpoints for each day, but anyone can override these setpoints and put the thermostat on a permanent hold. This results in extra energy waste due to the setpoint remaining the same throughout the day and night, and eliminates any sort of control or regulation at the management level. Alternatively, The GridPoint energy management system creates intelligent multi-period scheduling based on the natural daily customer flow of your site, so you will save even more energy when your site is not busy. Additionally, if someone overrides the setpoint, it will return to the pre-set schedule in 30 to 120 minutes.

 

• A programmable thermostat saves energy through enforcing heating and cooling setpoints. GridPoint’s energy management solution does this as well, but it saves even more energy through advanced control algorithms that intelligently throttle up and down HVAC units to keep guests and employees comfortable at a minimal cost. It can also predict when buildings will use the most energy during the month, and curtail HVAC usage for 15 minutes at a time to save up to an additional 5% off your energy bill.

 

• GridPoint thermostats include an HVAC test tool that will automatically test the performance and operational status of each unit every month. An HVAC Scope report is generated that informs you of which units are broken with a full diagnostics report. This HVAC Scope report also predicts when a low performing HVAC unit might fail.

 

• A programmable thermostat controls an HVAC unit in an isolated manner, whereas an energy management solution treats all HVAC units at a site as a single system. This allows for some cooperative control efficiency which increases energy savings.

 

• Programmable thermostats require users to manually update each thermostat one at a time, but an energy management solution will allow users to update schedules at all locations with just a few clicks.

 

• A programmable thermostat may send an alert if a zone is not being cooled or heated properly by an HVAC unit, but an energy management system can alarm on more than just low and high temperatures. GridPoint’s energy management solution can alert users on short cycling, long cycling, performance trends, and power issues.

 

• A typical programmable thermostat may come with a mobile application to control the temperatures remotely. An energy management solution will include a mobile application as well as a web application to provide more value added features to drive more energy savings. GridPoint’s energy management solution goes one step further and also includes a full suite of services such as Control Support Services, Site Monitoring Services, and Energy Advisory Services.

 

The decision between an energy management solution and a programmable thermostat may seem like a budget decision initially, yet the return on investment is often recognized much sooner in an energy management system. GridPoint has recently released Energy-Management-as-a-Service (EMaaS) which allows businesses to exchange the large upfront cost for a low monthly fee that is less than the energy savings. Taking away the upfront cost creates a unique value proposition that allows customers to be cash flow positive from day one without touching a capital expense budget. If you’d like to learn more about how GridPoint can be your energy manager, fill out your information below and we’ll get in touch with you soon!

*http://www.erc-co.org/spooky-statistics-about-energy-and-water-waste/

cubefit-headshots-8209

 

 

Gerald Zingraf
Product Manager

 

 

 

 

 


Submetering: Capturing the Right Data for Results

Energy management and data go hand-in-hand; you can’t manage what you don’t measure. But while collected data provides insight, there is no true result without analysis and action. In order to see maximum value with an Energy Management System (EMS) an organization must have the right data, produced at the right time, aligned with the right processes, combined with the right people to take action. GridPoint’s EMS leverages these key factors to create custom solutions designed to provide immediate value that increases over time. These values include reducing energy costs, increasing building efficiency, validating capital planning decisions, driving organizational sustainability, and improving employee and customer comfort.GridPoint Value Drivers

 

This post will focus on how the right data can drive significant energy savings across an enterprise.

 

Energy professionals generally have a good understanding of the value provided by a building management system (BMS). Through a BMS, site managers are able to control lighting and HVAC equipment to optimize comfort, and reduce unnecessary energy spend driven by improper set points or mismanaged schedules. However, what is often missing from the BMS equation is the data needed to validate the system – how do you know it’s working if you can’t measure the results?

 

Submetering adds a level of granularity and provides powerful data that can be combined with BMS information to achieve greater savings. A BMS will allow you to control your environment and submetered data verifies that your controls are working as expected. This information combined with advanced analytics can provide deep insight into where opportunities exist to reduce even more energy across an organization.

 

The keys to achieving greater results through a comprehensive energy management system fall within four areas; scheduling optimization, equipment optimization, comparative analysis, and peak demand management.

 

Scheduling optimization
By combining a BMS with submetering and advanced analytics, users can identify deviations between what is happening and what is supposed to happen.

Identify overrides: schedules are often overridden by employees or vendors. This leads to temporary overrides or schedule changes becoming permanent. GridPoint’s EMS enables override parameters to ensure employees and customers stay comfortable within a set threshold. These overrides are then defaulted back to normal after a specified time period leading to more savings over time.

Validate scheduling: Sometimes schedules appear to be setup correctly but communication isn’t happening at the equipment level. GridPoint’s data confirms that each piece of equipment within a site is responding according to the set schedules, thus validating all communication paths. If is off-schedule, the data can provide further insight into what is malfunctioning and why, and immediate action can be taken.

 

 Equipment optimization
Not only is it possible for schedules to be misaligned at the site level, it’s possible that individual pieces of equipment may not be performing as expected. Submetering enables users to identify which piece of equipment is malfunctioning and for how long.

Equipment issues: individual equipment, such as economizers or electric reheats, often rely on complicated control strategies to power it on or off. When a piece of equipment malfunctions during BMS control, users simply identify that it’s not working – there is no insight into the reasoning why, such as an economizer damper failure, or simultaneous heating or cooling. GridPoint connects energy usage to the control schedule to validate if the units are operating as they should, and provides feedback when they are not aligned.

Startup / shutdown: Understanding when the right time to turn off and on HVAC equipment isn’t as easy as setting a time and letting it go. Factors such as outdoor temp, time of year, and occupancy, can affect the daily schedules of individual sites. GridPoint’s EMS incorporates these factors and adjusts schedules automatically to optimize each site independently.

 

Comparative Analysis
Comparing energy usage across sites can help identify underperforming facilities and equipment.

Building and individual equipment comparison: Understanding equipment performance and comparing it across similar assets seems simple, but without the right context it provides very little value. GridPoint’s EMS normalizes usage to accurately compare performance of individual pieces of equipment, and buildings with similar footprints.  By understanding site performance across an enterprise, decision makers can identify which sites are excelling and which are not.  This can then be used promote communication and competition, and to drive sustainability initiatives.

Deviation from baseline: Without understanding how a building or asset performed previously it’s impossible to know if it’s performing well now. Comparing predictive models against actuals can provide deep insight into performance issues and help maintain energy efficiency measures. GridPoint incorporates historical data to trend energy efficiency projects over time. The project tracking feature enables users to set baselines for individual projects and track over the project’s life to ensure goals are being met.

 

Peak demand management

One of the most powerful aspects of incorporating metering and BMS data together is through advanced management of peak demand.

Peak demand avoidance: GridPoint’s predictive algorithms forecast demand spikes and automatically shift loads to minimize impacts of monthly peak demand charges.

Targeted equipment optimization: GridPoint’s data analytics tools make it possible to identify opportunities where system usage overlaps. Overlaying this with operational data, such has hours of operation or production schedules, it’s possible to optimize run-time of the equipment automatically to reduce demand.

As you can see, submetering drives significant value opportunities not only at the facility level, but at the enterprise level as well. I’ve touched on just a few examples of how the right data, at the right time, can identify hidden savings opportunities and reduce costs – and energy savings is just the beginning. Stay tuned for follow up posts where I will detail how to leverage the right data to maximize additional values, including employee and customer comfort, capital planning, organizational sustainability and building efficiency.

anthony

 

Anthony MacDonald
Solutions Engineer

 

 

 


Understanding electric consumption & demand charges

Understanding Electric Consumption & Demand Charges

Electric energy prices have been rising at a pretty constant rate for the last few years, and more rate increases are predicted for the future.  If you’ve ever had a chance to study your utility bills you probably noticed that the majority of your total cost is comprised of charges for consumption and charges for demand.  In some cases the demand charge can exceed the consumption charge, and in many cases the demand charge accounts for nearly half of the total bill.  So, it’s a good idea to understand how these two billing factors are calculated so you can determine the best ways to limit both and save your enterprise some money.

 

Electricity is Energy, But Knowledge is Power

This blog post will concentrate on the two biggest charges found in most commercial electric utility bills – consumption (measured in kWh), and demand (measured in kW).

 

Consumption

Your electric consumption charge is easy to understand and calculate.  Consumption is measured in kWh (kilowatt hours).  This is a measurement of the amount of energy you use during the billing period.  kWh prices vary widely.  Depending on your geographic location and your utility rate plan you could be paying as little as $0.03 or as much as $0.30 per kWh or more.

 

EXAMPLE A:  If your building used 10,000 kWh during the billing period (usually about a month), and your rate was $0.10/kWh, then your consumption charge would be:

10,000 kWh * $0.10/kWh = $1,000

 

You can reduce the amount of kWh you consume by making sure your HVAC is carefully controlled so you aren’t over air conditioning or over heating spaces in your building, or conditioning the air when buildings are unoccupied.  You can also reduce your consumption by making sure that energy consuming equipment like lights, office equipment, exhaust fans, battery chargers and cooking equipment are turned on only when needed.  The GridPoint Energy Management System provides the perfect platform for doing this.

 

Demand

Demand is a more complex subject.  To the electric utility, demand represents the amount of electrical power that has to be generated at any given time.  In other words, the utility has to be able to deliver enough power at any time during the day to deliver the maximum amount of power needed by all of its customers.  As demand increases, more sources of power must be found – this can be very expensive.  That expense is usually passed on to the utility’s customer base.  To the consumer, demand represents how fast you use energy and how efficiently you use it.

The speed at which you use electrical power is measured in kW (kilowatts).  Your demand will vary from minute to minute as HVAC cycles, lighting, and other loads are turned on and off.  The electric utility usually measures demand as an average of the power you draw in a 15 minute period.  Very short bursts of demand, for instance when demand surges occur when electric motors turn on, will have little effect on the average 15 minute demand.  But, longer periods of demand will have a big impact.  For instance, leaving a large electric motor (i.e., a kitchen exhaust fan) turned on constantly will have a significant impact on your 15 minute demand.

The unit cost of demand (kW) is always much higher than the unit cost of consumption (kWh).  Consumption is typically charged at a few cents per kWh.  Demand is usually charged at a few to several dollars per kW.

 

EXAMPLE B:  Using EXAMPLE A, and applying a demand charge – for instance 100 kW average 15 minute Demand charged at $10/kW – the monthly bill would become:

10,000 kWh * $0.10/kWh + 100 kW * $10/kW = $2,000

Demand charges just doubled this monthly bill

 

Your demand charge can also be influenced by a characteristic called power factorPower factor is a measure of how efficiently your site uses electrical energy.  If your equipment uses energy inefficiently it will exhibit a low power factor and the electric utility must have more generation capacity online to serve your needs.  On many electric bills you’ll see your power factor measurement.  Power factor is denoted as a percentage.  A 100% power factor means your equipment is using power with 100% efficiency.  Utilities usually apply a multiplier to your demand charge for power factors below 90%.  Power factor multipliers of 1.2 to 1.5 are common.

 

EXAMPLE C Using EXAMPLE B, and assuming an 80% Power Factor and a 1.2 Power Factor Multiplier the monthly bill becomes:

10,000 kWh * $0.10/kWh + (100 kW * $10/kW) * 1.2 = $2,200

 If your building uses energy at a low power factor your bill will increase

 

And finally, you may also see two different types of demand on your bill – actual demand and billing demandActual demand is just what it sounds like – the highest actual average 15 minute demand measured during the billing period.  The billing demand is the highest 15 minute demand measured at your site in previous months.  Each month you could be billed the higher of these 2 numbers.  Bills that show both actual demand and billing demand use a factor called demand ratchet.  This simply means that if you demand a lot more power during one month – for instance during July in Miami – then the highest average 15 minute demand for that month will be billed for July and the next 11 months even if the actual demand is lower during subsequent months.  The only exception to this rule would be if your actual demand was greater than the July demand in a subsequent month – for instance August in Miami – then the demand that would be billed would increase to that higher number for August and used as the billing demand for the following 11 months, regardless once again of your actual demand.  When your rate includes a demand ratchet you will be locked into your highest demand for 12 months (some utilities use 6 months, some others use 18 months, but most ratchet plans use 12 months).  Managing your demand is always a good idea, managing your demand when you have to live with a demand ratchet is critical.

 

An Energy Management System Can Help

Most Energy Management Systems can help you reduce your electric consumption.  However, if you don’t know exactly where and when that power is being used or how efficiently it’s being used (maybe because you aren’t metering the main load and submetering significant power consuming equipment at your facility), then your EMS will not be able to help you manage your demand costs.  Knowing where and when and how efficiently power is being used at every facility is the first and most essential requirement for any attempt to limit power demand, decrease energy consumption and lower your annual electric spend.  The GridPoint Energy Manager System offers hardware to control energy consuming equipment, sophisticated software and professional services to automatically manage your power demand, detect inefficient usage, and record your energy consumption.

rod

 

Rod McCrea
Solutions Engineer

 


Happy Holidays From GridPoint

Twas the night before New Year’s at thousands of sites,

GridPoint’s advanced scheduling was adjusting HVACs and lights.

Some employees nestled at home with their families,

while others up late selling last minute decorations and candies.

As the chilly winter temperatures continue to change,

set-points continuously adapt within comfort range.

When back in the manager’s office arose such a clatter,

his phone ringing with something the matter!

Smart alarms alerting that a refrigerator is down,

but what should they do? There’s no maintenance around!

Is it electrical? Is it a fuse? Is it a motor or fan?

Endless possibilities, but he has a plan.

Open GridPoint Mobile to identify the danger,

it just came unplugged, could have been so much stranger.

Oh how chaotic if it had gone on all night,

the inventory loss would have been out of site.

He plugged it back in, an issue no more,

now back to work managing the floor.

With hardware and software and someone to call,

the energy savings from GridPoint pays for it all.

He runs one last report oh, how smart are his buildings,

having all this data organized, what a wonderful feeling.

With confidence he locks up knowing everything’s alright,

happy holidays to all, and to all a good night!


Setting Energy Management Goals

Setting energy management goals becomes much easier when you are equipped with the right tools to help guide you. ENERGY STAR’s Guidelines for Energy Management recommend following a seven-step process to implement and achieve a successful energy program:

  • Make a Commitment
  • Assess Performance
  • Set Goals
  • Create Action Plan
  • Implement Action Plan
  • Evaluate Progress
  • Recognize Achievements

This post focuses on how GridPoint’s smart building technology guides you through steps two and three: assessing performance and setting goals.

Assess Performance – Where are you now and where do you want to be?

Looking into historical energy data helps managers understand a building’s energy profile and will, in turn, help determine realistic targets to strive towards. A thorough performance assessment will involve gathering data, setting a baseline, benchmarking, and analyzing current energy trends.

To paint a better picture of consumption trends prior to installation, GridPoint’s solution incorporates 12 months of historical utility data to establish a baseline. This baseline is then used to determine how the energy management system can most efficiently reduce energy consumption. Benchmarking enables building managers to rank their sites in relation to industry averages for further insights on areas to improve. By reviewing previous energy usage patterns, GridPoint’s Analysts can recommend operational and control adjustments to improve performance going forward.

 

This image shows submetered channels and corresponding usage trends. GridPoint uses historical data to identify
anomalies, malfunctioning equipment, and inefficient usage patterns

 

Set Goals

Goals need guidelines, these make up your project’s scope. The scope can be set at the corporate or site level, by processes, by equipment, and/or by time period. By combining two or more of these constraints, managers are able to determine realistic short and long term goals designed to achieve what is meaningful to the business. Here are a few examples of multi-conditional goals and how GridPoint’s platform accomplishes them:

          GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile enables                                  users to track progress on-the-go

Short term goals:
  • Increase HVAC uptime from 90% to 95% – By controlling and tracking HVAC operation, GridPoint can alert customers when HVAC units go offline and mitigate outages.
  • Minimize time windows where cooler doors remain open – Door sensors enable GridPoint alarms that are configured to notify managers when cooler/freezer doors have been left open for extended periods of time.
  • Decrease nighttime lighting load by 70% – GridPoint can minimize unnecessary lighting during unoccupied hours through lighting schedules that correspond to store hours and sunlight levels.
Long-term goals:
  • Recognize an average kWh reduction of 10% across all sites – GridPoint models energy savings from the collected baseline data and can provide ongoing insight on methods to continuously improve energy savings.
  • Decrease overall max demand kW throughout the enterprise by 3% –GridPoint’s Load Curtailment Algorithm drives down costly, daily energy peaks without sacrificing comfort.
  • Reduce average per-site CO2 emissions by 4,000 pounds annually – By comparing the EPA’s CO2 data for energy supplied to localities, GridPoint can track CO2 reduction alongside energy consumption.

What is the potential for improvement? Operational performance is paramount to a facility’s integrity. How efficiently and effectively is the building providing comfort and safety to its occupants? Continuously checking for and addressing negatively impacting trends or actions will ensure that customers get the most out of their program. The GridPoint Energy Advisory Services (EAS) Team supports continuous improvement by leveraging real-time, equipment level data to identify equipment flaws or failures, unnecessary energy usage, and other anomalies. They can then make recommendations to mitigate these issues, keeping customers on the right path to achieve their goals.

 

Real Results

Reduced Energy Consumption – GridPoint reduces energy consumption with automated controls, advanced analytics, and actionable recommendations. Depending on the type of building, GridPoint saves between 5% and 30% off your monthly energy bill. This translates to tangible dollar savings that continue to accumulate over time.

Avoided maintenance costs – GridPoint Support enables customers to resolve common maintenance issues remotely which minimized the cost of diagnosis, labor, and truck rolls. Available 24/7, our Support Team can help troubleshoot and address a number of issues over the phone without ever having to call a technician to the site. The EAS team can also help by tracking poly-phase voltage imbalances, which degrade the lifespan of motorized mechanical equipment, like HVAC units and refrigerators.

Reduced site outages – Through the use of real-time energy metering, GridPoint’s alarms will notify customers of outages so that issues can be addressed promptly. In the event that there is a voltage outage during hours where the building is unoccupied, GridPoint’s Site Monitoring Team is the first to know and can notify the customer immediately.

Health and food safety compliance – By monitoring cooler, freezer, and hot water temperatures the EMS can mitigate issues or health code violations related to the quality of goods or services provided. GridPoint can monitor refrigeration/freezer temperatures and send automated alarms to key employees if temperatures fluctuate to an unsafe level for a period of time. Hot water heating is another sensitive channel that can be tracked and maintained to prevent the potential for growth of disease-causing bacteria.

 

These are just a few of GridPoint’s many benefits. For more information on how GridPoint’s technology can help you achieve your goals enter your contact information in the form below.


Jack French

Energy Data Analyst

Jack evaluates energy consumption patterns to provide customers a comprehensive overview of building operation and performance. Using data-driven strategies, he provides insight on how to optimize efficiency, comfort, and equipment lifespan.


HVAC Scope | The Automated HVAC Testing Tool

Budgeting for HVAC maintenance and repairs can feel like playing darts in the dark. It’s hard to determine how much to set aside for the year or how often you should schedule preventative maintenance. If you schedule too many check-ups you might be paying too much. If you don’t schedule enough, you may find that major components need to be replaced more frequently. This thin line between over scheduling and under scheduling is bravely tread by every facility manager, and decisions are typically made based on past experience, best practices, and old fashion guess work. GridPoint has created an automated and systematic method to this madness in the newly released, patent-pending HVAC testing tool: HVAC Scope.

 

What Is an Automated HVAC Test?

GridPoint’s automated HVAC Scope test is a new way to run diagnostic and performance test on HVAC units without lifting a finger. After the quick, initial setup, the HVAC Scope tool will test HVAC units individually on a pre-set cadence. The test can be set up to run at night when the building is empty to create controlled test environment and eliminate any interference with normal business operations. It can also be run on-demand if needed.

When run, the HVAC Scope tool will test each unit one-at-a-time to reduce any influence between units. It will prompt the HVAC units to run through several different modes: fan off, fan on, stage 1 cooling, stage 2 cooling, stage 1 heating, and stage 2 heating. This enables GridPoint to use the environmental data, energy data, and HVAC data collected at the site to pinpoint actual issues such as a fan that is not blowing air or compressor that is not cooling enough. A report is generated to help identify these specific issues before calling in a technician, reducing the time, and cost, it takes to get the issue resolved.

 

Save Time and Money on HVAC Maintenance

Studies have shown that the average commercial building requires $1,700 in HVAC maintenance every year. And that number doesn’t include the internal time it takes to schedule preventative maintenance, work with technicians, or troubleshoot HVAC issues. GridPoint’s HVAC Scope feature takes the headache out of managing your units so that you can focus on the things that matter most to your business. Each time the HVAC testing tool is run – whether automatically or on-demand, you’ll receive a report that will help you:

  • Reduce HVAC maintenance and repair costs
  • Improve preventative maintenance scheduling with real data
  • Extend the life of HVAC units through better care
  • Eliminate last minute HVAC calls during seasonal changes
  • Reduce the time it takes to diagnose and fix HVAC issues

 

HVAC Test Details

The value of GridPoint’s HVAC Scope tool is derived from granular data collected at sites paired with control capabilities within each unit. As the test runs, each stage of heating and cooling are run while data is continuously collected. The GridPoint controller runs calculations in the background in order to report the operational status of each zone and stage. This report will enable technicians on-site to see if there are any components of the HVAC unit that are non-operational by looking at the power consumption for each stage during the test. It will also let them know how well an HVAC unit is cooling or heating by showing temperature changes at each stage. These reports are sent to GridPoint Energy Manager for further analysis in a downloadable report. Over time, the trended performance of each HVAC unit can be used to fine tune preventative maintenance schedules. These reports can be run for multiple units across multiple sites to quickly and easily manage the repair and maintenance of HVAC units for an entire enterprise.

 

For more information or to receive a demo on GridPoint’s patent-pending HVAC Scope tool, fill out your information in the form below:


Tracking Energy Management Progress­

You’ve already set goals, but how do you make sure you’re on track to reach them? GridPoint’s three dimensional data helps actively track savings so you know exactly which goals you’re accomplishing and where you may need to improve.

 

 


GridPoint’s 3 Dimensions of Data

 

GridPoint ties customer baseline energy consumption data to the IPMVP empirical model in order to weather-normalize trends. This means GridPoint can accurately calculate the kWh reduction the solution is providing and validate its savings over time.

The IPMVP empirical model takes historical energy consumption data for individual sites, incorporates weather at those sites, and predicts what the energy usage would have been without GridPoint’s solution installed.

Savings Dashboard for a Large Multi-site Customer

 

On top of validating hard savings, GridPoint’s Energy Advisory Services team combs through millions of data points daily to catch any facility issues a site may be experiencing individually or on an enterprise-level. We call these issues exceptions. Quickly identifying and correcting these exceptions keep sites running safely, and keeps you on track to meet your goals. Some exceptions include:

  • HVAC exceptions – Noting recurring issues and performing preventative maintenance to reduce prolonged negative impact to building operation.
  • Lighting exceptions– Minimizing unnecessary lighting consumption by use of control schedules and photo sensors
  • Refrigeration exceptions – Maintaining health and food safety temperature compliance
  • Water heater exceptions – Safeguarding water temperatures to decrease likelihood of waterborne bacteria (i.e. legionnaires disease)
  • Power outages – Notifying customers of outages, especially related to extreme weather storms (i.e. hurricanes, blizzards, flooding)
  • Voltage Imbalances – Notifying customers of high voltage imbalances which can have a negative impact on motors. Customers can then notify the utility to resolve the issue

Keep Momentum Going

GridPoint’s solution is designed to continuously drive savings over time. Our data-driven approach has been proven superior through years of experience eliminating waste and providing energy savings across many different businesses and building types. GridPoint believes customization is key, and each customer is paired with a solution package that best fits their needs and goals.   Of course those needs and goals can change as a business develops, and GridPoint’s technology can be easily modified to support those future objectives as well. Fill out your information below to learn how GridPoint can help achieve and track success of your energy goals.

 


Jack French

Energy Data Analyst

Jack evaluates energy consumption patterns to provide customers a comprehensive overview of building operation and performance. Using data-driven strategies, he provides insight on how to optimize efficiency, comfort, and equipment lifespan


The Emergence of the Energy Conscious Enterprise

The Emergence of the Energy Conscious Enterprise

As significant economic, political and technological forces evolve, enterprises are continuing to shift into a more energy-conscious mindset. New advances in technology are making innovative energy management possible, affordable and achievable from the residential sector to businesses with multiple locations across the country.

Asset-level submetering, environmental monitoring and cloud-based software platforms, in particular, are changing the way enterprises measure, monitor and manage energy usage with affordable solutions that can generate up to 30% savings, typically with 24-month-payback. In our newest white paper, GridPoint has identified five megatrends transforming the way enterprises approach energy management to reduce carbon emissions and save money:

Megatrend 1: Rising and Volatile Energy PricesEnergy prices are on a long-term, secular rise. In fact, the United States Department of Energy estimates that industrial electricity prices will grow an average 1.9% annually and 46% total over the next 20 years after inflation due to demand growth, resource supply, capacity lagging behind increased demand, political events and unexpected weather such as the polar vortex.

Megatrend 2: Government Regulation and Standards

There are numerous organizations that create and promote standards for energy management and overall building energy efficiency, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) among others, which highlight the importance of real-time, asset-level submetering to achieve granular visibility into energy use, optimize site operations and satisfy regulatory compliance requirements.

Megatrend 3: Corporate Responsibility

Corporate responsibility continues to be a key goal and priority for corporations and government institutions alike as good citizenship behavior is expected by the market and constituents.

Megatrend 4: Internet of Things

The rapid growth of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) makes energy management more affordable and effective than ever before. IoT devices communicate to each other by sending data over a network without any necessary human interaction and, according to Business Insider’s “Here Comes the Internet of Things,” these devices are estimated to grow from 10 billion in 2012 to 70 billion in 2020.

Megatrend 5: Data-driven Energy Management

Finally, you cannot manage what you do not measure. Data-driven energy efficiency management will become an expected approach to achieve maximum financial savings, operational efficiencies, capital returns and carbon reductions.

As a result of these five megatrends, tomorrow’s successful organizations will become energy conscious today by leveraging real-time energy usage data to gain visibility, analysis and control of their overall energy usage.

To learn more about what’s fueling the market, download GridPoint’s white paper The Five Megatrends Shaping the Energy Conscious Enterprise or our e-book available on Slideshare.


Powerful Plans for Carbon Reduction

Powerful Plans for Carbon Reduction

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released the Clean Power Plan proposal, a rule that would require power plants to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2030 as compared to 2005 levels. According to the EPA, power plants account for nearly a third of the nation’s carbon emissions and account for a major portion of our environment’s pollution.

Created as an extension of President Obama’s climate change action plan, the Clean Power Plan proposes a set of guidelines to help cut carbon pollution from plants and make them more efficient. The EPA estimates that by doing so, electricity bills will be reduced roughly 8% through increasing energy efficiency and reducing demand on the grid.

However, power plants are not solely responsible for high levels of carbon emissions and pollution. Commercial buildings account for 18% of energy consumption and, as with power plants, reduction is the key to unlocking savings and emitting less carbon.

An energy management system (EMS) like GridPoint’s provides visibility into enterprise-wide energy consumption through submetering, monitoring and big data analytics. Our cloud-based platform includes control automation and advanced algorithms to maintain set points and identify new opportunities for savings. While the EPA predictions assume 8% savings, the 12,000 sites that have GridPoint’s EMS systems installed have generated energy savings up to 30%. To date, GridPoint’s lifetime carbon emission reduction is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 200,000 cars.

From power plant to retail stores, the reduction of carbon emissions is needed across the board. Let GridPoint and its energy management systems help your enterprise be part of the solution, not the problem.


GridPoint Energy Data Analyzed in Nationwide DataFest

GridPoint Energy Data Analyzed in Nationwide DataFest

In 2011, Rob Gould, vice-chair of undergraduate studies at UCLA’s department of statistics, created the DataFest, a team competition in which students were given 48 hours to analyze a complex dataset and provide intelligent, creative insight before a panel of judges. The competitive nature of the event was designed to rejuvenate students’ academic performance while giving them a taste of real-world, current data. Since that first event, DataFest has grown significantly and is now hosted by five major schools nationwide.

"I'm really excited and pleased to see how DataFest has grown. In 2011, we had about 30 students at UCLA, and now we had almost 400 students at 15 colleges and universities around the country, all analyzing the same dataset,” said Professor Gould. “I think this speaks to a real hunger that students feel for being provided with challenging problems in a fun and supportive environment."

Each year, the data provider is kept secret until the beginning of each event. GridPoint provided “secret” dataset this year and students were challenged not only to glean imaginative analysis, but were also required to learn about the consumption and reduction of energy in a short amount of time. Data-crazed students participated in DataFests that were hosted at Duke University, Princeton University, Emory University, UCLA and the Five Colleges.

Kyle McCarter, director of solutions engineering at GridPoint, who received his B.S.E. from Duke University in 2005, said attending the event at his alma mater gave him a new perspective on the data GridPoint deals with daily. “We deal with difficult data. Time-series data was new to a lot of people, even the graduate students. Additionally, there is a lot of contextual information (like how an HVAC system works) that is necessary to model things properly,” he noted.

Overall, Kyle reported that students’ approach to GridPoint’s data was compelling and found that their analysis offered valuable ideas for future exploration.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and thank you to the DataFest organizers for featuring GridPoint! 

Duke University:
Best in Show: “Wolfram Alphas”: Mao Hu, Avinash Moondra, Sankash Shankar, Daniel Zhang, Zenia Zheng, Josh Latner, Meghan Scanlon; “D 4 C”: Alvin Kang, Paul Kim, Lilly Park, Kevin Wu, Eric Wu
Best Use of External Data: “Team Clairvoyant”: Ashish Agarwal, Yu Fan, Fangjian Guo, Yizhe Zhang, Weiqiang Zhu; “The Fantastic 5+1”: Xirui Diao, Mingqiang Fu, Xiangcheng Gao, Yi Rong Hoo, Ruisi Zhan, Brianna Bai; “Data Cruncherz”: Travis Britain, Brittany Cohen, Varun Himamshu, Gabrielle Levac, Heather Shapiro, Philip Srevrev
Best Visualization: “Cougar Bait”: Lorin Crawford, Nghi Nguyen, Derek Owens-Oas, Shinichiro Shirota, Xi Chen, Joseph Futoma, Christoph Hellmayr, Matt Johnson, Victor Pena; “Spectral”: Bryan Davis, Fuhui Fang, Yinan Fang, Jie Gao

Princeton University:
Best in Show: “DJ Hydrazine”: Harold Li, Nathaniel May, David Zhao
Best Visualization: “The Outliers”: Ujjwal Dahuja, Mihaela Curmei, Arunraj Balaji, Mark Aksen, Lydia Liu, Kevin Lin
Best Use of External Data: “WuTang Financial”: Farhan Abrol, John Anderson, David Jensen, Leor Klainerman, Robert Sami

Five Colleges: Smith College’s “The P-Valuables”: Deidre Fitzpatrick Michele Handy, Maja Milosavljevic , Sara Stoudt, Dana Udwin

Emory University:

Best Insight and Best Visualization: “Data Miners”: Kirk Hadley, Aiming Nie, Michael Zhai, Tony Wang, Fei Gao; “ANOVA One Bites the Dust”: Kyle Niezgoda

UCLA:

Best Insight: “Oops I Dataed Again”: Siena Duplan, Kayla Frisoli, Kimberly Mauleon, Greta Olesen, Daniel Smith; “SC Statistics”: Chris Funaki, Sri Ramesh, Bradley Rava, Tsz Chan, Matthew Norris
Best Visualization: “Jack n Coke”: Lev Golod, Johghyun Lee

Best Use of External Data: “JSS”: Shahid Cohan, James Lepore, Sean Grant 

Read more about DataFest 2014 here:

GridPoint Provides Dataset for National College Tournament “DataFest” 

The Students Most Likely to Take Our Jobs
fivethirtyeight.com

A Weekend of Data Crunching
Duke Magazine

DataFest Sees Teams Competing in Data Analysis
The Daily Princetonian