Category

Energy Management

Understanding your Energy Bills

By | c-stores, Energy Management, restaurants | No Comments

Measurement and Energy Rates

What is in hiding in your energy bill? For residents it may be easy to spot when your rate increases and when you had new taxes added on, but this is a whole different story when talking about energy consumption and restaurants, the sector that uses 2 times the amount of energy as any other sector, seeing these slight differences bill after bill is difficult and sometimes impossible. With taxes coming into play, changes in peak demand charges, and the rise in electricity costs alone determining what savings can look like from your energy management system (EMS) may be tough. We put together some best practices to help you identify your savings from your energy management system because not all the time is looking at your electric bill before and after an accurate depiction of what your EMS is saving you. Being the first in a series of blog posts concerning this topic first we will talk about measurement and energy rates.

The first thing to take into consideration is that your EMS is not connected to everything in your facility that is consuming energy. They monitor and control specific areas and systems in your building and trying to decipher if the EMS is lowering your energy bill you first have to define what it is you are measuring. Your EMS provider should provide you reporting on a regular basis that outlines what your consumption was, for the systems it was connected to, for that month making the case very plain and clear. However, in the case that they don’t, you must first have a good plan for what it is you are looking to accomplish. To affect the outcome, you must first know what to alter to make a significant difference. To compare kwh consumption month to month on specific systems your EMS must have a meter. The meter measures the specific kWh consumption for whatever system it is communicating with. This will give you numbers to compare before the system was installed to after the system was installed. If your kilowatt consumption is less after the system was installed, then you saved that $$$.

Energy cannot be stored, so it is produced at the exact moment of demand; therefore factors that influence supply and demand weigh heavily here. Other factors that come into play are fuel prices, gas and oil, and wind and weather as they determine how much energy is generated by wind turbines and hydroelectric stations. That being said the price fluctuates as much as gas prices in the summer. Another factor that plays heavy in the industrial sector is demand rates. Rates will also change if you are at your peak demand for electricity usage, and those rates vary over the course of the year. Not being able to rely on a set rate year round makes the deciphering of your energy bill that much more difficult.

Now that we have covered the first two basics in deciphering your energy bill we will be covering four more topics related to your energy bill and your EMS. Two topics every other week and once we are done, you’ll be a pro at decoding your energy bill and understanding how your EMS affects the bill. For more information on how EMS systems work check out chameleon™.

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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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Summer Solstice is Here!

By | Efficiency, Energy Management, IoT, Lighting | No Comments

17% of all electricity consumed in the United States is for lighting, which makes it the largest end use of electricity than any other specified category. With Summer Solstice here America can see anywhere from 13.5 hours a day of sunlight all the way up to 22 hours in Alaska. With over 2,069,306,000 lightbulbs in the commercial sector of America, assuming they are all LED’s (which they probably are not) it costs .04 per hour, using the national average of 11.5 cents per kWh, to run. If there are 12+ hours in the day, that means we are spending $1,034,653,000 nationwide just on lighting in the commercial space….and that’s on the low end because 12 hours is the smallest amount of daylight had during this time of year in only some areas. This number is quite jarring considering the amount of energy just the commercial sector is using. Not only is this costing us TONS of money but it isn’t exactly great for the environment. So what the heck am I getting at?! There are tons of ways to reduce your lighting expenses, let’s talk about the obvious, easiest one…scheduling.

Out of all of these light bulbs in businesses throughout America, most buildings probably have mechanical timers, and some have some scheduling already set up. Mechanical timers are good however they do not account for cloudy days and rarely are changed to match the longer days of summer like today. Chances are they are probably coming on when the sun is still out and wasting millions of dollars and energy throughout the United States. Most energy management systems utilize an astronomical clock which utilizes equations using the latitude and longitude of a location to determine if the lights should be on according to the desired schedule. This is a sure fire way to know your lights are on when they are supposed to be on and off when they are supposed to be off.

One thing we often see in the field installing systems, are lights on during the day. The primary cause we see is human behavior. Before we install, the chameleon™ system lights are set to turn o via mechanical timers. For example, if the manager comes in early one day, the sun isn’t up and overrides the timer by manually turning on the lights the problem lies in the forgetfulness of people. Managers and workers get busy and forget to turn them off when the sun comes up resulting in dollars lost each day due to human behavior. Automated scheduling can save money by allowing your employees to override the regular schedule and revert back to the normal schedule after “X” amount of minutes. This way, if your employees forget to turn the lights off, no big deal they will still turn off themselves.

Whether it’s summer solstice or any other regular day reducing your energy consumption in the tiniest ways can improve the money going toward your bottom line along with saving the environment one light bulb at a time. If you have a mechanical timer in your business what are you waiting for? The tech is here! Get at us and let’s start saving you $$$.

 

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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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