Movie theater during the screening of an animated movie

Company Profile

  • Company: A Movie Theater Chain
  • Business Type: Movie Theater
  • Solution: HVAC & Humidity Control, HVAC Health, Energy Reduction- Showtime Integration, Automated Demand Response
  • Results: 17% Energy Savings

Background: Managing energy use needs for millions of customers

This brand has several hundred locations throughout the US. They’ve served millions of customers and aim to provide a best-in-class movie-going experience for its attendees in every location. Movie theaters tend to operate with large square footage, offer showtimes from morning to midnight, and have multiple screens in operation simultaneously. The very nature of their business model creates unique energy use challenges.

Challenges: Juggling multiple vendors, HVAC, and humidity challenges
Movie theaters are charged with maintaining a comfortable environment across multiple rooms in large buildings – all while balancing energy and facility costs. This is where GridPoint comes in. We offer standardized reporting which allows facility managers and operations to manage via exception; saving time and effort while maintaining comfort and reducing energy consumption.

In addition, the brand had acquired new locations that had no HVAC control systems at all, this led to severe humidity issues and uncomfortable temperatures, as well as additional facility maintenance costs.

The theater chain sought a single turnkey solution across its locations that could provide detailed information on theater operations and insights into their HVAC issues and site energy
consumption. They needed to reduce energy costs, standardize HVAC control systems, and correct uncomfortable humidity levels. And they needed to do all of this without a major capital investment.

Computer mockup showing HVAC Setpoint Monitoring


Objectives: Standardize comfort and save on energy costs

  1. Objectives ranged from customer needs to corporate strategy: Solve for humidity and temperature control issues to provide a consistently comfortable environment across all locations
  2.  Reduce overall energy consumption and utility costs
  3. Gain site-specific insights as well as enterprise-level data
  4. Streamline disparate and uncoordinated HVAC solutions
  5. Implement changes with a cost-efficient
    model and minimal initial outlay

Solution: Energy Management as a Service, integrated systems, and demand response
GridPoint’s Energy Management as a Service (EMaaS) offering provided the brand with flexibility to avoid a large upfront capital and the option to take on the project as a monthly
operational expense. EMaaS combines installation, hardware, software, and services into one monthly fee that is typically funded by the energy savings generated. Because the project was cash-flow positive from day one, the solution was able to be deployed at more sites, more quickly.

HVAC and Humidity Control: GridPoint installed HVAC controls and humidity sensors across the initial set of theaters and implemented a strategy to tackle the humidity challenges. Through testing, GridPoint’s Energy Advisory analysts determined that the best way to lower humidity was to adjust thermostat differentials, running units longer in stage one cooling, and cooling during unoccupied hours. GridPoint’s Energy Advisory team was also able to identify that exhaust from the movie projectors was a large contributor to the high humidity levels. The humidity data GridPoint collected helped validate the necessary facility updates needed to correct this design flaw.

HVAC Health: GridPoint’s patented HVAC Health tool helps the company’s facilities team assess HVAC performance and prioritize repairs and maintenance across their locations.
Performance insights on individual units can be viewed in the software and a report can be run to view a summary of how units are performing across locations. Most recently the tool helped identify 153 units with issues, 78% of which that weren’t working at all. Below is a recap of the number of issues and severity:

HVAC Health Graphic showing heating and cooling issues by percentages

Energy Reduction Strategy — Showtime Integration: Once the humidity issues were corrected, the next priority was reducing energy consumption. GridPoint was able to standardize and optimize HVAC setpoints and schedules across the fleet of sites – driving energy savings and eliminating some of the guesswork that comes with managing thousands of HVAC units across the country. GridPoint also successfully integrated HVAC control schedules with showtime data to automatically sync their schedules and prevent energy waste (e.g., during periods when certain rooms wouldn’t be in use). This automated HVAC schedule strategy drastically reduced occupied mode usage by about 45%, decreasing their HVAC unit runtimes and increasing their savings.

Automated Demand Response: Utility Demand Response programs pay participants to reduce consumption during specific time windows. GridPoint enrolled several theater sites in demand response programs to manage peak energy costs while supporting grid stability. If a demand response event was called by the utility, GridPoint would work with participating locations to reduce energy demand in accordance with the pre-established curtailment strategy without causing any comfort issues onsite. GridPoint works with utilities to automate the enrollment and event execution- fully managing the notifications, curtailment, and reporting of the program to ensure they achieve the greatest impact with minimal business interruption. The result is an ongoing earnings opportunity with virtually no effort on the brand’s part.

Results: Centralized monitoring, controls, and superior data intelligence
Since first engaging with GridPoint in 2018, the theater chain has averaged 17.76% electrical savings and 24.1% gas savings. Since then, GridPoint has installed solutions in one-third of all sites in the U.S., providing the ability to monitor sites in real time, uncover inefficiencies and equipment issues, and control their sites to be more efficient. If a humidity concern arises in one of these sites, the facilities team can evaluate the HVAC issue remotely in real-time, and correct the humidity level quickly.

Key Takeaways: This theater chain was able to deploy GridPoint’s platform with no capital costs, correct humidity issues, gain valuable facility insights and implement an energy reduction strategy that achieved over 17% savings year over year.

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