GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile 2.0: How Users Manage Sites On-the-go

As a Senior Data Analyst working at GridPoint I work with customers representing a wide variety of verticals. This unique experience has given me perspective into the varied needs of energy management system (EMS) users. From optimizing occupant comfort, to controlling energy peaks, to reporting on food safety, there is a seemingly endless number of ways users leverage the valuable energy and environmental data that GridPoint collects.

Many GridPoint customers have designated energy management teams who spend a portion of their day analyzing energy trends at their computers. A large number of our customers, however, are constantly on-the-go. They wear many hats at work, and while they require access to their energy and environmental data, they need it in a streamlined and accessible medium. Understanding our customers’ needs ultimately led our team to develop GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile 2.0.

Mobile 2.0 expands upon the capabilities of GridPoint’s preliminary mobile offering of real-time data and site details to include historical trended data, site schedule and setpoint data, energy consumption summaries, temporary control overrides, and more.

Below are adapted stories that represent common use cases our customers have relayed to us regarding their app use:

 

Mobile1

 

Use Case: Cooler Temperature Record Keeping

Key Mobile Features: Trends; real-time data

I am a site manager at a fast casual franchise restaurant. My priorities are to ensure that customers dining with us are delighted by our food, service, and atmosphere. A big part of my job is ensuring food safety. Part of our food safety initiative includes tracking cooler and freezer temperatures. While our cooler data is available at all times on the GridPoint Energy Manager portal, and even gets summarized for me in daily reporting, I often need to reference cooler temperatures periodically during the day.  I use GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile’s trend graphs feature to export both historical and real-time records of our cooler and freezer temperatures. With just a few taps I am able to extract meaningful temperature data from any point within the last two years and send it to my colleagues.

Use Case: HVAC Repair Tracking

Key Mobile Features: Real-time data; trends

I lead the HVAC maintenance team for a national retailer. My job is to ensure that my technicians make repairs quickly and effectively. My team relies on real-time data to verify repairs that have been made. We have incorporated GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile data into our repair and verification process. For example, before making a repair a technician will drop the cooling setpoint on a unit and track the corresponding kW load and duct temperature. Once the repair has been made, the technician will track these same metrics in real-time to confirm whether the repair was performed successfully. The technicians then export and email the real-time tables as a record that their repair was performed successfully.

mobile 2

 

Use Case: Override Assessment

Key Mobile Features: HVAC tiles; HVAC overrides

I am a facilities manager overseeing 45 retail locations across the Northeast. We have a strict corporate energy policy to save money and reduce our carbon emissions. My performance is measured based on how well I curtail energy spend at our sites. We have corporate setpoints and I must approve all setpoint change requests. I leverage GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile to verify zone temperatures are justifiably uncomfortable for occupants before allowing the override. If the site is in need of a temperature change, I will perform a temporary control override from my mobile app. I am also able to check historical data to determine whether the unit at a site may be experiencing a problem. Armed with this data, I am able to schedule prompt repairs without even going to my office to use my computer.

 

mobile 3

 

Use Case: Site Consumption Analysis

Key Mobile Features: Site Energy Dashboard

I am a site manager for a locally-owned neighborhood convenience store. We do not have a designated energy manager at the company, so it is up to me to follow best practices to curb our energy consumption and lower our bills. I am constantly on the move, therefore it is helpful for me to access my energy consumption through my mobile device. GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile’s Site Energy Dashboard is particularly useful for me, as it ranks my highest consuming assets by consumption and peak. This data showed me that while refrigeration and other equipment are typically our highest energy consumers, our HVAC system is responsible for many of our monthly peak charges. With this simple insight, I made the decision to implement a Load Curtailment algorithm to shave up to 5% off my peak. Additionally, I like to leverage the Site Energy Dashboard’s custom time period selector to compare the GridPoint-metered usage against our billed usage to ensure that utility metering is accurate and I am not being over-charged for my usage.

 

 

We hope the use cases outlined above inspire our customers to draw even more value from the GridPoint system. To view a demo video, visit http://www.gridpoint.com/mobile/.

 

 

 

Sophie Rudolph

 

Sophie Rudolph
Senior Data Analyst


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

 

 

 


GridPoint Support: Managing Your Chaos

It’s Friday night and your restaurant is busy as usual.  You notice several of the diners fanning themselves with menus and realize that the front of the dining room is warm.  What do you do?

 

If you don’t have a GridPoint Energy Management System, your next step might be to go back to your office and check your thermostat.  You might change the setting by a few degrees and wait to see if that helps, delaying the issue for another hour or two.  If it still seems too warm, you might call for someone to service the unit.  That technician might get there that night, or it might be next week sometime.  In the meantime, you have a full evening, and possibly a few days, of unhappy customers.

 

If you do have a GridPoint Energy Management System however, your first step would be to pull out your cellphone and open the GridPoint Energy Manager Mobile app.  It will not only allow you to change a set point, but it will also give you visibility into whether the unit is circulating cool or warm air (the supply duct temperature).   Armed with that information, you simply dial 866-800-8906.  GridPoint customer support listens to your issue and immediately tests the unit in question.  If the unit is cooling well and just needs an adjustment, they take care of that on the spot.  If it needs a technician to service it, they can adjust other units to compensate until a technician can arrive.  Diners are happier, stay longer, and your night’s revenue is saved.

 

This situation is not unique to a restaurant; it happens at retail locations, pharmacies, fast food restaurants and convenience stores alike.  Managers are busy.  They don’t have time to figure out if there is a problem with the heating or cooling, but it is extremely important to the bottom line that they function properly.  GridPoint prides itself on providing world class customer support.  I am the VP of the Delivery & Support Team and have been with GridPoint for over 12 years.  I can safely say that each and every day of those 12 years, we have made at least one store or restaurant manager happier.  Whether it is through testing an HVAC unit to verify it needs service, changing the lights to come on during off-hours, or validating that a technician completed the job they were paid to do; the GridPoint Customer Support Team has become the go-to first response call for so many of our installed sites.   Each person on my team comes to work knowing that they will make a customer’s life easier, less expensive, or more comfortable.  That is what we are here to do.  The GridPoint EMS offers many things from energy savings to enterprise wide automation, but combine that with a strong customer support team and you have a solution that does so much more.

 

Current Service Offerings

GridPoint offers several levels of services to tailor to the individual needs of our customers. Below are a few options from a customer support perspective:

  • General Software Subscription
    • With every active subscription, a customer receives a basic level of customer support that includes technical support of our equipment, customer training by phone, working with technicians, general support and troubleshooting
  • Control Support
    • All of the above + schedule changes, HVAC setting changes, lighting changes
  • Site Monitoring
    • Proactive support providing a prescribed customer contact with information about a site based on data collected from the site.  Normally provided through smart alarms or a deeper manual review of daily or weekly reports.  This is a flexible offering where each customer receiving the service has the opportunity to establish their own process to make the most of the service.

 

So far this year, the Customer Support team has handled thousands of customer tickets and resolved 98.5% of them within a strict set of service levels (SLA).  That means our customers get answers and assistance quickly, and to their satisfaction.  We offer support through several mediums including email (Support@gridpoint.com), working with customer third party service systems, and through phone calls which are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

 

When we can help someone at the site resolve a problem without sending a technician or recommending service, we refer to that as avoiding a truck roll.  Using a conservative estimate, we have saved our customer base over $3.6 million over the last two years in avoided truck rolls alone.  That is not insignificant, especially for those of our customers that have incentives for their site management related to budgets and spending.

 

As you can see, GridPoint’s support teams play an important part in our customer’s experience. If you are interested in learning more about any of GridPoint’s service offerings, fill out the form below and a team member will get in touch with you.

Jennifer Faulkner

 

Jennifer Faulkner
VP, Delivery & Support

 

 

 

 


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

 


The Beauty of Information: Site Comparison Visualizations

Billions of data points – dynamically, and exponentially growing each day.  Which data points matter?  Which are trending in alignment with your energy goals?   Which are indicators of the path to the facilities maintenance graveyard?

GridPoint Energy Manager’s extensive reports and visualizations organize your data and paint a picture of energy usage within and across sites.  These tools, built and curated by the GridPoint Energy Advisory Services team, are designed to help answer these, and many other questions that arise when leveraging big data.

 

Site Comparison Visualizations

Site comparison visualizations take equipment-level data from single sites and compare it to a performance baseline. This easily identifies any performance outliers and enables managers to make better decisions based on data; decisions on how to lower energy bills, manage buildings better, and improve processes to organize day-to-day chaos.

They aid in deriving:

  • How a single location is performing against itself.
  • How a single location is performing against its peers.
  • What assets are driving negative or positive performance?
  • How the enterprise as a whole is performing against a selected period.
  • What types of energy consumption have changed, and how?

 

Visualization 1: Submetered Load Summary
This report leverages big data to display energy consumption, by data source, across the entire enterprise.  At the top level, users can filter comparisons over time, region, equipment (HVAC, Refrigeration, etc), or by site size.  This is often used to identify and compare energy consumption trends, as well as calculate variance from the previous period.


The graph is showing that, on average, HVAC units across sites in the Southeastern United States sites are performing better in 2014 than they were in 2013

Visualization 2: Unoccupied Main Load Comparison
This report compares a location’s unoccupied main load kWh, across a defined period of time, to identify if the load has increased unexpectedly.  Users select a ranked list of problem locations in the top left table. Corresponding points are then plotted in the chart to the top right which compares the current data over a previous period.  Changes in lighting programming, building controls, or site specific behavior become evident when the patterns are not aligned.  This is often used to identify wasted energy during unoccupied hours which negatively impacts a site’s bottom line.  Action can then be taken to fix the problem at the site level.

The graph shows that one site has the highest opportunity for unoccupied setback, the unoccupied trend changed on September 30th, and unoccupied setback has been most affected between 12AM and 5AM

 

Visualization 3: Site vs Peer Comparison
In this report users can select up to 5 locations from their enterprise directory and compare their energy and facility data.  The directory includes data ranging from geographic roles to building/facility type to date of last renovation.  Once comparison sites are selected, corresponding data trends are plotted in a monthly heat map format, daily linear graph, and total pie chart – each split by data source (main load, HVAC, etc.).  This is often used to detect positive or negative consumption changes among similar sites.  For instance, a user could compare a site that recently received a lighting retrofit with a site that did not to see its effect on lighting kWh.

The graph shows that three similar sites in Virginia have comparable HVAC, refrigeration and main load kWh consumption in 2016, however one location began consuming 30% less lighting kWh in August (due to a retrofit)

 

Advanced reports are designed to organize and present the data that is most relevant and important to your specific business.  These visualizations, and more, are available with GridPoint’s Advanced Reporting capabilities.  Some customers have internal teams to access and analyze their data, many rely on GridPoint’s Energy Advisory Services to do this for them and recommend custom solutions and strategies.  For more information on GridPoint’s Energy Advisory Services or reporting capabilities, fill out the form below and an Energy Expert will be in touch with you shortly.

matt-browning

 

  Matt Browning
  Manager, Data Analytics and Energy Advisory Services

 

 


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