Category

Energy Management

Why an EMS Alone Isn’t The Answer to Energy Savings

By | Energy Management, restaurants, Sustainability | No Comments

While energy management systems are great and can substantially reduce your facility’s energy consumption there are many other factors that come into play when it comes to what affects your energy consumption and energy savings. Installing a system, ending it there and having no other course of action you can’t expect that your energy consumption troubles will just go away. Knowing what you are measuring to having an energy plan and everything in between, this article will give you an idea on how to set yourself up for success when it comes to EMS.

Getting Your Team On Board

This doesn’t just mean the front end team but your top management team as well. Commitment should look like more than a signature but accountability. Developing a solid plan for upper management and the rest of the team can help ensure the success of the energy management system. You should ensure your entire teams knows the why behind the decision to get the energy management system and let them know they play a huge part in it being successful. Oftentimes when installing an ems into a location we see setpoints constantly being overridden, refrigeration doors left open. It’s sort of like a hotel room, the first thing you do when you check in is crank that A/C super low because who cares, all you know is you don’t have to pay for it. Empowering your employees and staff with the reasons will help them hold themselves accountable and be more cognizant next time they want to turn the A/C down a few degrees and, overall, contribute to your energy savings.

Structure

Establishing a structure that surrounds defining roles and responsibilities can mean all the difference when it comes to your energy management system succeeding or failing. During the implementation process, you will want to define who will be interacting with the system on a day to day basis and ensure their knowledge is up to par when it comes to interaction with the software. Training is a big part of an EMS and establishing a training schedule ahead of time for your employees will save you time and money further along into the process. To avoid any miscommunication between staff each staff member should be completely clear on who handles what aspect of the energy management system. You may only want some employees to have access and higher up employees to have a more broad access. This will help establish clear boundaries when it comes to who should act on what alerts and what sort of escalation is needed.

Energy Plan

Establishing what your desired results are from the EMS is key to determining if the systems ROI will meet your needs. If you don’t know what you are measuring how do you know it works? Often we hear clients say they would just look at their energy bill….hmm if your EMS isn’t connected to every single item in the restaurant how could you tell if it is providing energy savings? Taking into account volume, year over year business and temperatures are crucial to understanding the ROI of your EMS. Your company may want to incorporate other aspects of energy use into the plan, like water consumption. Be sure to review your plan and key staff annually to be sure it remains relevant. Creating an energy plan will help your entire staff jump on board with the implementation of the system and incorporate energy conservation into your values.

Taking pride in new initiatives and giving ownership empowers staff to do the right thing when necessary. Turning off a light here and there, keeping the A/C at 74 degrees, and keeping that refrigeration door closed not only helps your business save money but you are saving the environment. Good things can only come from these actions so why procrastinate?

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Energy Management System Components

By | Energy Management | No Comments

Let’s talk Energy Management Systems; we often hear that they save money and maybe don’t understand the in’s and out’s but an essential piece to beginning to understand them is at the baseline…the equipment. We are going to go over typical equipment that is installed as part of an EMS. Knowing how and what is installed will help your overall understanding of the system, how it functions, and how it positively impacts your facility. These pieces of hardware have 2 primary jobs, to collect data from the system that the piece of hardware is connected to, and provide visibility and control to those selected systems.

The  Brains

This typically consists of an EMS controller or server that communicates with other pieces of equipment that are installed throughout the facility. In our case, the chameleon™ server enables all of the information received from the facility to be communicated up to the cloud where all of this information is then put onto a dashboard that you can view from any browser or our application on any mobile phone platform. The data transmitted from the server to the devices contains schedules, setpoints, and any other automation commands. That’s why when a change is made in the dashboard you see it reflect immediately in your facility. Think of it like this, let’s say someone stops you on the street and they ask for directions. The only problem is they don’t speak English, you pull out your phone and use a translator which tells the person who doesn’t speak English, in their native language how to get where they need to go. Basically, in this scenario, the phone is the server, and the dashboard is the software on the phone, and it communicates to the rest of the equipment the schedules and setpoints you want.

Meters

There are several different types of meters, but the idea is all the same. We typically work with metering and submetering. A meter is installed in the facility’s electrical box and measures the amount of energy a facility is consuming. At Small Box Energy we also do sub-metering which is a more granular type of metering. Submetering is when a meter collects information about specific systems in the facility like HVAC or lighting so that you can see how much energy is being consumed by lighting on its own and HVAC as well.

Thermostats

Everyone knows what a thermostat does as far as reading and controlling temperatures in a space, the difference between your household thermostat and an EMS thermostat is the EMS thermostats not only read and controls space temperatures but it collects data and sends that data to the server and up to the cloud where it is used in facility analytics. These analytics help facility managers monitor their locations remotely, reduce costs associated with maintenance, as well as energy consumption.

Sensors

Typically wired and wireless sensors are placed throughout the facility to monitor specific areas recording specific sets of data. Below are some of the sensors you can find around a facility with an EMS.

Duct Temperature Sensors

These sensors are placed in the air supply and return ducts to measure duct temperatures. This helps with diagnosing problems with HVAC units, by determining what temperature the unit is pushing out.

Space Temperature Sensors

These sensors are placed, typically, in the center of the room so that it can communicate back to the thermostat and server what the current temperature is in that specific area.

Water Heater Sensor

These sensors are placed at the hot water heater to ensure the temperature of the water coming out is heated to proper health code specs.

Remote Temperature Sensors

These are typically wireless sensors that are used for monitoring food prep areas or small reach in coolers. They collect and report temperature data up to the cloud to ensure the food is HACCP compliant.

Photocell Sensors

These sensors interact with the lighting. They are placed outdoors and communicate to the server the amount of light outside. If it is a cloudy day, they

Lighting

A lighting control panel is usually installed with the EMS, contactors and relays are inside of the control panel itself. With an EMS lighting can be separated into different zones, allowing full remote control of the lighting within a facility. These contactors and relays, communicate to the lighting when it needs to be off and on. Having an EMS allows your lighting to be put on a schedule so you don’t have to rely on people to turn them on and off.

Controls

With some energy management systems, there are niche controls that can be installed and communicate data collection up to the cloud. Small Box Energy uses an adaptive controller that is installed in walk-in coolers and freezers. The controller collects temperature data from the walk-in and determines when a defrost is needed. Typically most walk-in coolers and freezers defrost on a time schedule, the adaptive controller enables the walk-in cooler to cut down defrosts dramatically, therefore, saving a sufficient amount in energy consumption.

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The State of our Sustainability

By | Efficiency, Energy Management, Sustainability | No Comments

If you are like most Americans, you probably don’t know what the sustainable development goal 7 (SDG7) is. In 2016 the 17 sustainable development goals of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development by world leaders at the historic UN Summit. It helps ensures the world tackles challenges like poverty, inequalities and assess climate change. The seventh one is Affordable and Clean Energy.

The International Energy Agency just published that the world is not on track to meet the goal of ensuring all of these are satisfied by the year 2030. Right now we are falling short in all areas of the the SDG7, but some significant progress is being made in some areas.

There are 4 different target which includes:

  • Universal Access to Electricity
  • Clean Fuels and Technologies for Cooking
  • Significant Increase in the Share of Renewables in the Global Energy Mix
  • Doubling the Rate of Improvement of Energy Efficiency

Universal Access to Electricity

Significant progress in the access of electricity in more destitute countries recently. With roughly 1 billion people living without electricity the number of people gaining access to electricity has been on the incline since 2010. Even though this progress is vast it isn’t enough to meet the goal, if the trend continues there will be 674 million people without electricity come the year 2030. An interesting find is that off-grid solar solutions are emerging as a significant driver of rural electricity access. This growth has happened due to leadership commitment backed by public financing. 

Clean Fuels and Technologies for Cooking

Clean cooking still has lots of room for improvement. When it comes to household air pollution as a result of efficient stoves is responsible for about 4 million deaths per year, women and children most at risk in that scenario. If current trends continue 2.3 billion people will continue to use traditional cooking solutions in 2030, not only impacting the people cooking but the environment as well. Rapid distribution of clean cooking fuels and technology has not received the acknowledgment from policymakers, so to break the trend policies will have to be put in place to further the advancement.

Renewables

In 2015 17.5% of world energy consumption came from renewable sources. 9.6% of that 17% came from new forms of renewable energy like bioenergy, hydropower, solar and wind. Based on current trend and policies in place, the renewable energy is expected to reach 21% by 2030 which is still short of the SDG7 target. The rapidly falling costs and new policies have allowed for solar and wind to compete is conventional power sources. China accounted for nearly 30% of growth in the renewable energy consumption in 2015 while the United States remains on the top 20 energy consuming countries and renewable energy consumption is growing at a slow rate. Wide adoption of alternative energy sources and phasing out fossil fuels will help shift the current trend.

Energy Efficiency

Trying to decrease our energy use globally has been successful as of 2015, with a 2.8% decrease, the fastest decline since 2010. This progress is still progress but falls short of the 2.6 yearly decline needed to meet the target of doubling the global rate by 2030. For the periods of 2010-2015, the annual decrease was only 2.2%. With continuing trends, we are expected to exceed 2.4% by 2030. If energy efficiency policies continue to be adopted throughout countries, building codes include energy performance standards for new and remodel builds some improvements to the trend can be made.

These types of research studies make it possible for the world to grow and change. With all the data that is collected, we are able to identify and play up our strengths while still realizing we have opportunities and a long way to go in order to keep this planet alive for the generations to come. Are you doing your part?

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20 Years of Innovation in the Restaurant Industry

By | Community, Energy Management, Events, Tradeshows | No Comments

The 20th anniversary of Restaurant Leadership Conference in Phoenix, 4days of excellent speakers, forums, networking, and fun. Breakout sessions anywhere from the innovation of delivery to chocolate 101, speakers like the chairman of Panera bread company Ron Shaich to two-time super bowl winning quarterback Peyton Manning RLC has never disappointed when it comes to entertaining and educating the innovators of the restaurant industry.

With over 2,000 restaurant industry executives in attendance delivery, mobile and convenience seem to be everywhere in the air at RLC. The focus in the restaurant industry is heavy in delivery and convenience and how your mobile phone plays a part in all of that. Several of the breakout sessions were centered around delivery and the impact that has on the restaurants and the shifting demands of customers. Problems ranging from, protecting the brand when third-party delivery services are involved, to solving the longtime problem with fry delivery.

As a supplier to the restaurant industry, it was interesting to learn about some of the battles our customers face that we were not even aware were a battle. This type of learning and education is what helps us better serve our customers and identify with their needs. Aligning our platform with the business needs is what we are all about, we fit and mold to a business’s needs, not the other way around. We can all learn from each other, and this was a great event to learn from the leaders in the industry.

Whether you have yet to attend RLC or this is your 10th year going, you can’t deny that the connections made at this event are ones that last. Bringing innovators across the world together to strategize and share best practices is an experience that you learn from, it sticks with you for years to come. Connections and friendships made at this event last a lifetime, and that’s precisely why Small Box Energy continues to support our clients and innovators in the restaurant space.  

 

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Efficient Electrification and Our Future

By | Energy Management | No Comments

The electric power and research institute (EPRI) just published findings showing how electrification in the United States progresses from now thru the year 2050. EPRI used an assessment to examine four different possible scenarios for the progression of electrification which produced seven different findings and many action steps to help realize the benefits of efficient electrification.

The Way of the Future

What the heck is electrification…well you are not alone there! The word seems intimidating, but we have all witnessed this in one way or another. It means the introduction of power to rural areas or, in the case of the United States, displacing older commercial energy forms (coal, oil, & nuclear) with higher efficiency

generation methods. Electrification also includes introducing new end uses of electricity like 3D printing. During this whole process, EPRI found seven significant findings relating to the electrification in the United States which we will delve into next.

source: U.S. National Electrification Assessment (Rep. No. 3002013582). (2018, April 02). Retrieved April 05, 2018, from Electric Power and Research Institute website: https://www.epri.com/#/pages/product/000000003002013582/

Customers increase their reliance on electric end uses

A model EPRI created predicted final energy in the United States in 2050 will grow from 21% to a range of 32%-47%.  With efficient electrification, the cumulative load growth projected is 24-52% by 2050. This projected load growth is believed to be led by the transportation sector. The belief is a more cost-effective choice in transportation is electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This increased load, however, is not a bad thing, new flexible loads can improve grid efficiency and performance.

Final Energy Consumption Decreases

Final energy can be described as the measure of energy consumed across all fuel types at the end use. Previous to this analysis most predicted final energy consumption would increase, but this study found the opposite. They projected efficiency improvements and advances in lighting, variable speed motors and more efficient internal combustion vehicles, along with the shift from non-electric technologies to more efficient electric tech would create a reduction of 22% by 2050.

Natural gas use increases

With natural gas surpassing coal as the most-used fuel for power generation the importance of this to the electric sector is clear. The projection of increases gives way to comorbid economic and environmental benefits like lower emissions than petroleum and lower emissions than coal when used for electric generation. The prediction ranges from a 118% to 33% increase in their different possible scenarios.

Low-carbon electric generation expands

As of late carbon intensity related to electric generation has fallen because of falling natural gas prices and increased use of solar and wind power generation. Projections show renewable sources will continue to grow driven by cost decline and state-level policies being introduced. As these two increase, considerations into the power system operating more flexibly to accommodate their shifting output is necessary for the expansion.

Emissions Decrease

Across all the different scenarios, electrification lowers system-wide carbon emissions. Research also suggests improvement to air quality at a local and regional level by reducing emissions of pollutants thanks to electrification; assuming policies that move to cut emissions in the future will only improve the air quality further.

Pressure increase to modernize grid infrastructure, operations, and planning

Making the grid more flexible to shift and change with the predictions of more alternative power sources results is essential in this model. Planning for more responsive demand response and storage of power is also critical to the future new load predictions. A shift in the more diverse, electric supply creates a whole new set of challenges for system planners for which they will need to account.

Technology innovation lowers costs and creates opportunities

Ensuring all of the benefits of electrification come to fruition, it is essential that the innovation in electric tech to reduce costs and improve performance is necessary. Relying solely on economics alone to benefit society as a whole is not enough. In this model, industry stakeholders will need to expand upon energy efficiency programs to advance electrification technologies.

The benefits of electrification are many as you can see. The article goes in depth into every aspect of what would need to happen alongside electrification for all of the above benefits to come to fruition. Things like cleaner energy production, grid modernization, developing new analytical tools and so on. In-depth studies like these benefit us all, not only does it educate people who may be unaware of the benefits, it also outlines detailed solutions that help make this prediction reality. Staying knowledgeable is half of the battle, taking action is the other. If we all do our part, no matter how small, it leads to significant change.

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5 Reasons An EMS is Better Than Equipment Controls Alone

By | Early Equipment Diagnostics, Energy Management, IoT, Remote Diagnostics, restaurants | No Comments

I have a programmable thermostat…why do I need an EMS (Energy Management System)?

We have talked to hundreds of customers and some get the concept and importance of an energy management system, some don’t. So just to clear the air on how we are different than your regular old programmable thermostat and lighting control we decided to just list it out for you.

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More Than Hardware

Energy Management Systems collect and store the information they receive about the critical systems they are connected to and communicate with. Most EMS can provide you with trend graphs so when you get a complaint about your dining area being too cold or hot, you have an idea on where the problem is and how to properly diagnose it.

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Integration

There is a single point of reference for anything that the EMS is connected to. One place to change your lighting status, HVAC setpoints, and schedules?! But wait, that’s not all! You don’t have to search through multiple dashboards or multiple menus, they all exist on one dashboard communicating to and from the EMS.

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Energy Visibility

Not only does the EMS provide visibility into your critical systems but it gives you insight into how much power the equipment connected to the EMS is consuming as well as the equipment it is monitoring. Getting detailed information on how much energy you are consuming day over day and what is consuming that energy can powerfully impact the way you run your business. 

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Enterprise Visibility

Multiple locations installed with the EMS can put all of your locations in one place. Changing setpoints, lighting state, and schedules across multiple locations has never been easier. Centralized facilities management makes it easy to prioritize facility maintenance budgets as well as evaluate, rank and optimize locations based on collected data.

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Diagnostics & Alarms

An EMS is capable of sending alarms and alerts to specific parties when temperatures are not being reached or when overrides occur to a set schedule. Early equipment diagnostics are also another added benefit. Most EMS provide trend graphs to pinpoint an exact problem with a refrigeration unit for example, helping to solve small problems before they become larger, more costly problems.

Long story short, an energy management system is much more than your thermostat on the wall. It provides visibility and analytics all in one easy to find location, which empowers you to run your business with confidence. Aggregating all of your locations data across all of the connected systems onto one dashboard makes your job that much easier.

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Smart Systems Anticipate Future Failures

By | Early Equipment Diagnostics, Efficiency, Energy Management, IoT, Remote Diagnostics | No Comments

Smart Software Predictions

IoT seems to be a buzz word as of late, and with everything connected…you have to wonder why? Convenience is a huge piece of it, but it also comes down to these smart systems and how they are interconnected to every aspect of our lives. Smart systems produces data; how can you act on this data? Well unless you know and understand how to decipher it, you can’t. Here at Small Box Energy, our client success managers are what sets us apart from our competition in that they are here to turn ordinary data into smart, actionable data for you. In our daily pulls, we collect over 140,000 data points that span across several different brands, in a single day. All this data comes in the form of graphs and numbers. The graphs are not difficult to decipher, however when the whole reason you purchase a specific software is to save time, so you can see where this can cause problems. Our client success team uses trend graphs to decipher and predict future equipment failures. The graphs below are some of the many ways that our system and data can help reduce costly repairs.

Data In Action

In the graph above our client success managers used the data to determine that the set point of the A/C was set too low, this caused the compressor to run almost for the entire day. The constant running compressor can cause wear and tear to occur at a more accelerated rate because the unit is never shutting off and getting a break.

This graph shows the compressor run time after the temperature on the thermostat was raised by 2 degrees. The run-time was cut by 20%, which increases the life of the compressor, and you avoid paying for costly repairs all because the temperature was set too low.

The next example is similar the last. The walk-in freezer at a restaurant was never reaching the set temperature, continuously running. Therefore it was running excessive defrost cycles to compensate. The client success manager used the data from smart system to determine where the problem started and possible causes. 

The coil in the refrigeration unit was never reaching the set temperature which caused the unit to go into defrost more often than it should have, this increases unnecessary energy consumption but most of all it increased wear and tear on the compressor.

Visibility Breeds Predictions

These are things we see day after day, the chances that all of your equipment in your restaurant or convenience store is running at 100% is slim. Smart systems like chameleon give you the visibility into your store operations as you have never seen before. The difference is before; you were never aware that your compressor in your walk-in was on all the time until you had to fix it when you had just repaired it recently unexpectedly. By merely having these graphs we are saving hundreds of restaurant owners and convenience store owners thousands of dollars in predicting future failures in their kitchen equipment.

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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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