Monthly Archives

January 2018

7 Tips to Reduce Energy Use at Home

By | Efficiency, Energy Management, Home Tips | No Comments

Did someone say reduce energy use at home? Reducing energy consumption starts and ends with you, whether it’s in the restaurant you own or in your very own home. We gathered information from our energy management experts on how to reduce energy consumption in your humble abode.

Smart Outlets

Turning lights on and off is simple with a switch right? If that were the case, you wouldn’t vividly recall your father yelling at you from inside to turn off the lights when you leave. A standard incandescent bulb costs about .75 cents every hour its left on, LED and CFL is about ⅙ of that. Considering most people have switched to LEDs the cost isn’t that bad right? Well, that’s one bulb, you have multiple in your house, and if you have kids you know, they are being left on often when they are not home. The impressive part about these switches is they let you turn anything on and off that is plugged into this outlet, not just lamps. I especially found great use when I don’t have to turn around on my way to work to see if I left my curling iron on!

Regular Maintenance of Your HVAC

This particular pertains to that 30-day filter change standard. Not only will changing the filter every 30 days keep the air clean but this will help your unit run much more efficiently. Clogged filters lead to less air intake and your unit running longer and harder than it needs to. All are resulting in more significant amounts of energy consumed. Also, make sure you have your local A/C guy maintain your unit regularly, this will help elongate the life of the A/C and ensure it runs more efficiently.

Programmable Thermostats

These bad boys are great for every occasion; they will help keep a schedule for you without you having to worry about if you turned the air up before you left for work. An excellent add-on with these is that most of them have the filter change setting that will alert you when it’s time to change your air filter again. You can also set home/away/ and vacation times on these, allowing you to focus on the more essential things in life like your kids and how to get them to keep that darn door closed during the summer.

Out with the OLD in with the NEW

If you can, switching out old light bulbs is a good start. It may seem costly at first but in the long run is the more efficient bulb. While incandescents are cheaper, they don’t last as long as LED’s and 90% of their energy used is given off as heat! LEDS’ last 8-25 times longer than a standard incandescent light bulb. Switching this little thing can save you anywhere from 25%-80% compared to their energy-hungry counterpart. While you’re at it switching out old appliances with energy star rated appliances ensures you have the most efficient equipment that you use daily.

It’s Gettin’ Hot in HERE!

Check that temperature on that water heater! Chances are you always use the cold to offset how hot the water is, so you are wasting all that money heating the water to a temperature you don’t even use. An even better suggestion is to add a timer to the water heater so it isn’t running 24/7. Limiting the amount of things that require human interaction to reduce energy use is a sure key to success. 

Energy Suckers

Be aware of “always on” loads like Audio Visual and TV equipment, charges, anything that can go into “standby” mode. These are often referred to as the culprits of “Vampire Power”. A typical home has around 40 products  that are constantly drawing power. That can add up to 10% of your energy consumption, checking these little things can reduce energy use little by little. 

I’m Just a Bill, Yes I’m Only a Bill

Make sure you know how your utility plan works.  For example, time-of-use plans charge premiums for peak periods throughout the day. So do dishes, laundry, run pool pumps outside of the peak hours. Doing this will help you avoid those expensive peak charges and keep your home running smoothly and works hand in hand with your goal to reduce energy use. 

It’s the little changes that always add up. Making these small adjustments now may seem like a pain now and some of them more costly than others, in the end the payback in your pocket and for the environment will be worthwhile.

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3 Reasons Why an EMS is a NEED to Have

By | Early Equipment Diagnostics, Efficiency, Energy Management, restaurants | No Comments

Let’s start this article off with..no one actually NEEDS anything…you don’t need to have a car…you don’t need to have a tv…..but we have these things to make our lives easier and much more enjoyable. The same goes for an energy management system (EMS) for your business, whether it’s in a convenience store, retail store, casino or a restaurant.

Around since the 1990’s, energy management systems have been creeping their way into our everyday lives. Whether it’s in your home with your programmable thermostat or in your office building with automatically scheduled lighting, EMS systems are part of the new IoT revolution. A new study conducted by Forbes found that businesses are fixated on IoT and how it can slingshot their business into the future with ease, over 90% of businesses surveyed in fact. Why?

The Environment:

It’s just the right thing to do for our environment and for your business. Restaurants consume twice as much energy per square foot than any other industry. The energy that Americans consume is 90% nonrenewable and this vast energy consumption is contributing not just to the depletion of resources but is contributing to the deterioration of our environment. Having an Energy Management System in place helps to cut back energy consumption, not only do you have the piece of mind that you are doing your part to save the planet but it allows for functionality.

Convenience

Everyone has a smartphone in their pocket. The world is shifting to an IoT state of mind. Access to your house lights, garage, and A/C all from your phone. If your house has it….why wouldn’t you implement it into your business? Most EMS gives you the flexibility to not only monitor remotely but they also enable control. Gone are the days of driving up to your restaurant on a beautiful, sunny day, birds chirping and parking lot lights on. Give yourself a break and your staff for that matter, give them the convenience that will make facility maintenance using early equipment diagnostics, lighting schedules, and temperature alarms right in their back pocket.

The Bottom Line

An energy management system or building automation system can help with your bottom line in several different ways. Providing energy savings by way of reducing your energy consumption is the first, most obvious way. Your energy consumption can be monitored and scheduling can be set on your critical systems to reduce the amount of consumption and limit the times to non peak times, maximizing our energy savings. Other ways that are not as apparent are in early equipment diagnostics and food safety. Food safety is a bit of a tricky one, it’s sort of like insurance. You don’t really value it until you need it. Having a food safety incident where your food temperatures come into question with the public, you can’t afford to have some sort digitized way of keeping track of your food temperatures and the times they were last checked. Early equipment diagnostics is something the industry has shifted focus to recently, managing an entire portfolio and prioritizing maintenance can be a daunting task. With an energy management system in the mix you have a way to analyze that data and prioritize your maintenance dollars to go where they are needed most. Most energy management systems provide reports on the equipment functionality and number of problems encountered. This data coupled with your effective management team makes your facilities maintenance unstoppable.

IoT is the most important emerging technology today. To effectively compete in this data driven, digital economy you have to at least have a grasp or plans on how your business will incorporate IoT to make your business successful. These smart systems predict future equipment failures, and  help you manage and address them accordingly.

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10 Reasons Why Your Food Shouldn’t be the Only Thing That’s Sustainable

By | Community, Efficiency, Energy Management, IoT, Restaurant Tips, Uncategorized | No Comments

Sustainable is an all to familiar buzz word in the restaurant and several other industries as of late. It seems to have become more prominent the more we learn about our environment, our food, and how the two are connected. We deep dive into the industry every time we perform a new install, according to trends for restaurants and EMS systems as of late here are some reasons why your food shouldn’t be the only thing that is sustainable…

1

Because it’s good for our environment: Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States

2

Restaurants use 2x more energy per square foot than any other industry: Producing energy contributes to the breakdown of our environment. Power plants must produce more power to keep up with the demand, which emits more co2 emission into the air. Americans emit about 9 tons of co2 emissions per person per year, this is only accounting for the power sector!

3

LEED the Restaurant industry: Prove to your customers you are going the extra mile to help the environment in every way you possibly can. Get a LEED certification to initiate change and do your part in the restaurant community. Check out the requirements to become a green building here. Not to mention all the awesome PR you’ll get because you love the environment and are doing your part to help!

4

Millennials love the environment: Young adults age 25-34 and families are more apt to be influenced by a range of sustainability and sourcing menu terms. This only increases your business when millennials comprise about ¼ of the U.S. population!

5

unEaten food at retailers, restaurants, and homes costs about $161 billion annually: Uneaten food by patrons does not always get taken home…diners leave 17% of meals uneaten and 55% of that 17%  are not taken home and just thrown out. That’s money that could have been in your pocket and lessen food waste. Options to help reduce food waste include offering smaller portion sizes, identifying what options are being wasted, and a restaurant in London even charges a fee for unfinished food and donates those proceeds to the charity Oxfam.

Restaurant Energy Consumption

6

Refrigeration accounts for 32% of a restaurants total energy consumption: Simple inspections of refrigerator equipment is all it takes to ensure you are as efficient as you can be. Regular cleaning and inspection of refrigeration coils and door seals can save you a headache later. Controllers that mitigate defrosts are also ideal to cut down on defrosts and conserve energy.

7

19% of a restaurants energy goes directly to lighting: Making the switch to LED or installing an EMS that controls and puts all lighting on schedules can significantly cut your costs where you may have thought that there was nothing left to be done. In a specific Small Box Energy case study we decreased lighting consumption by 8%. 

8

As of 2016 10% of the total U.S energy consumption came from renewable energy sources: That means that 90% of the energy consumption came from non-renewable sources. There is a limited amount of fossil fuels and it takes millions of years to produce, it is estimated that the world. not just the U.S., will run out of fossil fuels within 100-200 years.

9

Food waste that goes into landfills generates methane. Methane is 21 times more harmful than CO2: Another reason to offer carryout containers that are environmentally friendly or add that smaller portion section to your menu like you have been thinking.

10

Installing an EMS (energy management system) can reduce your energy consumption by up to 25% and in some cases $8000 annually: An energy management system can help your business cut where it makes sense and a difference. Simple automated controls and sensors installed in all your critical systems (HVAC, refrigeration, lighting..etc) helps you monitor, control, and reduce your kwh consumption. Reducing your energy consumption by 25% will significantly help in efforts to reduce your carbon footprint. It’s a win win win!

All of these suggestions are merely that, suggestions. They are just words and will remain that until you take action. That’s the challenge. Take action, lead others, inspire and show your customers and peers your motives are not just driven by just making money, but by how what you do has a lasting impact on the environment.

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