10 Reasons Your Critical Systems Data is Valuable

By | Education, Energy Management, restaurants, Sustainability | No Comments

IoT, smart data, big data, all of these terms you hear more often the more common technology and data continues to intertwine itself with every aspect of our lives. With the recent Facebook data debacle, people are starting to realize that their data is valuable…but why? Small Box Energy works primarily within the restaurant and convenience store industry, and we’ve come to find that the more information you capture within your facility, the more it benefits your business and ultimately, you.

So what is the difference between big data and smart data? Big data deals with the 5 V’s: volume, velocity, veracity, variety, and value. Basically, it is a large pool of data that makes it difficult for data to be interpreted conventionally. Smart data, on the other hand, is data the applies to your problem. It’s what we here at Small Box Energy like to call actionable data. Our software sifts through more than 100,000 data points per location per day to pull out, only, the data that is useful to you and your business. It is easily interpreted, easy to take action with and allows you to draw educated conclusions about a problem using the data as backing.

Now let’s talk about why this smart data is so important and valuable to your business and you!

Smart Data Predicts Future Failure

The restaurant industry is notorious for not replacing their equipment when needed, and only replacing it if it is an absolute necessity that’s why early equipment diagnostics is on every facility managers radar. Maintenance behavior like this tends to cause more problems and money than saving it. Collecting data from your HVAC system like desired setpoints, discharge air temperature, and current status of compressors can give you a huge step up when it comes to fixing a problem before it costs you more money than needed, not to mention those upset customers when your A/C goes out. This stays true with your refrigeration equipment as well. Capturing a walk-in units defrost cycles and temperatures, that can help you establish an exact moment of failure, or trends that show when a piece of equipment is about to go out.

Staff behavior

Capturing data from your HVAC, walk-in units, lighting, and even your small reach in’s, you can identify when overrides of schedules are happening, and also when doors are being propped/left open. This is a massive advantage for facility managers in that it gives visibility to the employee behavior happening when no one is there to see it.

Portfolio Management Locations

Going hand in hand with the staff behavior point, the more data you capture about your location, the better it will help you manage it. You can’t control or manage what you can’t measure. There are so many things happening in a location when you are absent you can’t afford to continue to lose money here and there on lights left on, equipment failure and so on. Capturing data across your portfolio will allow you to save money in all of your locations along with managing facility budgets to sites that may be in more need than others. Comparing the data across your locations will give you more confidence in the decisions you make by having the data to back it up.

Food Safety

HAACP has been around since 1959 and formalized in 1972, so for 46 years we have relied on pen and pencil and the honesty of the employees to accurately take temperatures every 2 hours, or that the beef was cooked to proper temperature before serving, or that the walk-in refrigerator was at an appropriate temperature for the foods being stored within. Now with IoT, it’s easier than ever to obtain all of the above temperatures digitally and save them in the cloud. This allows for alarming when temperatures are not taken for specific foods or when a refrigeration unit goes down. This will enable you to take action before money is lost in the product within the refrigeration unit.

Energy Consumption

Capturing and monitoring energy consumption can save you thousands in a year. Once you capture this information, it gives you the power to isolate, and act. The energy data collected from your critical systems allow you to see where you are spending the most and create an action plan from there. Creating that small piece of visibility can save a restaurant or convenience store up to 30% on energy consumption monthly!

Smart Cities=Smart World

Connecting your facilities to the IoT revolution and capturing data is right for you, but guess what its good for the world too. This data can be used by companies to better our world. We can help pinpoint energy waste, come up with solutions and best practices to help protect the environment and keep the world as it is now for future generations.

Improving Operations

I have listed some ways that each of the above points can help operationally, but if you currently are not capturing your data in your facility, your visibility is at a zero. With HVAC data you can pinpoint equipment failure and irregularities, refrigeration data helps identify temperatures of food along with the quality, and food safety data ensures your customers are getting the best visit every visit. This actionable data allows you to create plans surrounding employee behavior and business objectives yielding savings in time and money.

Correlations with everyday Business and Data

Collecting data points today allows you to predict tomorrow’s actions. You can uncover the perfect temperature to set your facility at and ensure that, even when you are gone, it stays that way. An uptick in business can reflect in a spike in energy consumption and allows you to correlate data with everyday business in your restaurant or convenience store.

Trending Times

Not only is this the perfect time to take control of your data it’s the cheapest. It has never been more affordable for businesses to implement ways to capture their data. Several companies offer a purchase option for the equipment, but even better monthly payment options. The industry realizes the potential in this sector and making it available to everyone is the perfect way to move innovation forward.

Customer Happiness

As stated briefly above you can pinpoint the perfect temperature of your location where your customers seem to be the happiest. We often find that the employees adjust the temperatures based on their comfort level when really, the customers should be driving that. Food quality can also be affected by too many defrosts in your refrigeration units, causing the stored food to have freezer burn.

Your facility is bursting with data that is just waiting to be collected, but if we’ve learned anything from this post it’s that data has to be smart or actionable. In order to take advantage of the data, you have to understand it to know where to apply it. In today’s age it less expensive to find companies that can do this exact thing for you and in the end, make your business more profitable. Small Box Energy is proud to serve over 50 qsr, family dining and convenience store brands nationally and want to help you expand your data horizons.

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Holiday Donations For Families In Need

By | Community, Education | No Comments

The holiday season has always been the season of giving, and this year just like every year before, for the past 14 years Engenuity Systems and Small Box Energy have combined forces to help a local cause. Catholic Charities Community Services, a charity that has been located in downtown Phoenix since 1933. They first started out helping vulnerable children, and over the years have molded and changed with the valley to provide life-changing services that protect families in the Maricopa, Yavapai, Coconino and Mohave Counties. They now help over 100,000 men, women and children every year with these services and donations.

Engenuity Systems (Small Box Energy’s sister company) has been hosting the My Sisters’ Place donation site for just over 14 years now. “I can’t imagine these families having to deal with this. It makes you realize how much these little ones need our support”, Kim Markie explains when talking about the children affected by domestic violence. Kim Markie,  the wife of Chief Executive Officer Tracy Markie, started the charity work with My Sisters’ Place when she worked at Engenuity Systems. My Sisters’ Place is a part of the Catholic Charities Community Services, they help all victims of domestic violence. My Sisters’ Place founded in 1985 and are only one of two confidential domestic violence shelters in the East Valley.

“This is something that would not be made possible without the generous donations from the community,” Valuikas says. Donations come in the form of typical Christmas presents, toys for all age children, movies, movie tickets, gift cards; but also include day to day items like personal hygiene items, shoes, clothes, diapers, wipes, hair products etc. Donations being accepted must be new and unwrapped items, Engenuity will be accepting items until Friday, December 22nd. You can drop any donations off at Engenuity Systems located at 2165 w. Pecos, Suite 1, Chandler, AZ 85224. If you have any questions please call 480-782-5600.

“Even though sometimes it feels like your contribution may be so small that it couldn’t possibly help, if every one of us gave a little of ourselves it would add up to a lot,” says Markie.

Remember that this holiday season even the littlest amount of help counts. It may not feel like much to you but to someone else, it’s everything.

If you are unable to donate at the Engenuity Office please visit the Catholic Charities Community Services to donate in other ways.

Check out our Facebook to See a list of items needed!

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Tips to Help Maintain Your Walk-In’s

By | Education, Service | No Comments

Summer is here and tis the season when all your equipment problems come to light. It’s basically Murphy’s Law when equipment goes out in the summertime. Imagine having a restaurant packed full of customers for your lunch rush and your dining room Air conditioner just went down….hopefully you are located someplace that isn’t Arizona. There are more things to consider in the summertime than just your air conditioning units. Walk-In freezers and coolers are no exception to this law as well.

When temperatures rise so does the workload on your equipment running like walk-in freezers to maintain its set temperature. Just like a car your walk-in cooler, and any equipment for that matter, will last you a lot longer if it’s properly maintained. Even if you have a preventative maintenance company it’s always good to glance at these items every so often to ensure equipment is in good working order.

Here are 6 Tips that will help:

  1. Visually Inspect: Look for:
    1. Corrosion on fins, copper tubing and solder joints
    2. Excessive or unusual vibration of fan blades when the unit is on.
    3. Oil stains on headers, return bends, and coil fins.
  2. Cleanliness: It’s always a good idea to keep the coolers/freezers clean. Soap and water are the best methods to clean avoiding any harsh chemicals as they may harm the metal surfaces.
    1. Not Just Inside: be sure to clean evaporator coil and blades using a brush and pressurized water.
  3. Inspect Door seals and hinges quarterly
    1. Ensure that the door is getting a good seal and is not damaged. Make sure the hinges are properly lubricated and not sticking.
  4. Check condensing units to ensure there is proper airflow and nothing is obstructing the evaporators and condensing units.
  5. Monitor temperatures Daily
    1. If you are not currently documenting and monitoring temperatures there is no way to ensure your freezer or cooler is meeting it’s setpoint temperature. a unit that is unable to meet its setpoint could have something fundamentally wrong and may be in serious need of maintenance or repair . 
  6. Talk with your refrigeration tech to ensure you have a scheduled maintenance program set up.

Small Box Energy’s Director of Deployment Jim Parker installs the chameleon™ platform in the field and has seen a little bit of everything. Jim talked with me about common problems he sees in the field, “One thing I always hear is when the unit ices up we just add more defrost…this does not solve the root issue of why the unit is icing up, but making it. This extends the run times as well as the wear and tear on the system, ultimately reducing the efficiency and life of the equipment.” Jim lists common problems with Walk-In units that he comes across:

     1. Dirty Coils

     2. Fans not Functioning

     3. Low Refrigerant

     4. Tune-Ups Not Up To Date

     5. Bad Door Seals

     6. Evaporator Not Sealed Allowing Moisture Intrusion

Most of the above problems can be remedied by using the tips provided above. We hope you found these tips useful and remember to stay COOL!

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Online Training Now Available

By | Education, Efficiency, IoT, Training | No Comments

chameleon cloud training videosSmall Box Energy Training Videos

We know how busy you are running the stores; therefore, we have launched our own e-learning series for chameleon-cloud and our mobile applications. Customers can find the collection of videos on Small Box Energy’s YouTube page. We have also included links to the videos through the support portal and in the footer of

Each video is approximately 10-15 minutes in length and walks through specific tabs and settings while teaching you how to quickly assess the graphs and data to detect potential equipment or operational failures.

Watch and learn at your own pace and share with colleagues. Watch Now.

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Common Energy Management Certifications

By | Certifications, Education, Efficiency, Energy Management | No Comments

Why are energy management certifications important and how do you distinguish between the credentials?

CEM-blue140As the world turns continues to reduce energy and use sustainable resources, it is easy to get caught up in the hype and the idea of saving a ton of money without checking the credentials of who is trying to sell you the next great thing. As a business owner, or consumer, it is important to know the various energy certifications, why they are important, and when to ask for the credentials.

Certified Energy Manager®

Certified Energy Manager® (CEM®) is a worldwide recognition from the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). The AEE was established in 1981 and has been the leading body for certifying Energy Managers with a standard ANSE/ISO/IEC certification program. It is the most widely recognized energy management certification with over 15,500 active CEMs. To become a CEM, individuals are required to take classroom courses and have relevant work experience. The exam is monitored and governed by a 3rd party to ensure integrity of the exam. To maintain the certification, CEMs must continue to evolve their education on an annual basis.

A CEM optimizes solutions to reduce energy consumption, and they serve as a system integrator for electrical, mechanical, process and building infrastructure systems. Their strategic, cost effective approach often makes them candidates for leadership roles to develop and implement energy management strategies for the entire organization.

Tracy Markie, CEO of Small Box Energy is a CEM.

Certified Business Energy Professional

The Business Energy Professional (BEP) program, also created by the AEE, is specifically designed to raise the professional standards of those engaged in business/marketing, energy management, utility account management and customer service representative. This certification requires individuals to complete a classroom course and pass the exam. They must maintain a high level of competence and ethical fitness for business/marketing and energy management related disciplines, as well as follow laws governing and affecting energy professionals.

LEED Professional Credential

A LEED professional credential signifies someone is qualified as an active participant in the green building movement through design, construction, operations and maintenance of buildings and neighborhoods that save energy, use fewer resources, reduce pollution, and contribute to healthier environments for their occupants and the community. There are several certification types.

A LEED AP credential shows advanced knowledge in green building as well as expertise in a particular LEED rating system, for example Building Design & Construction, Operations & Maintenance, Interior Design & Construction, Home, and Neighborhood Development. LEED certified professionals must maintain their credential through on-going education and certification.

Certified Sustainable Building Advisor

An employee with the title of Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA) specializes in strategies and tools for implementing sustainable building. They work with architects, designers, builders, building operators, and utilities to identify and discuss the key practices of sustainable building and improve a building’s performance. Certification can be obtained through college courses.

Credential for Green Property Management

The National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) and National Apartment Association Education Institute (NAAEI) offer the Credential for Green Property Management (CGPM). The CGPM certification is tailored for on-site managers, maintenance staff, and supervisors of front-line staff. It provides management companies and owners a mechanism for meeting initial and ongoing training commitments to the HUD Office of Affordable Preservation (OAHP) if they have opted for a green Market-to-Market restructuring. Credential holders will learn the latest techniques and technologies for making cost-saving green improvements at properties

The CGPM is not restricted to employees of management companies who have opted for OAHP green restructuring. This credential will also benefit on-site managers, maintenance staff and supervisors of front-line staff at other affordable and conventional apartment communities employing green operations and maintenance practices.

These are the most common credentials; however, there are other certifications available.

The CEM credentials require a real-world experience and degrees. Small Box Energy has a program in place to certify key personnel after they have met the requirements.

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