Energy Initiative Blogs

Retail, Meet Technology

by User Not Found | Apr 09, 2016
Blog Post 3 Motherboard - computer

The key to making retail spaces energy efficient starts with understanding how technology can assist. Let’s start with exploring the technology that is available in the market place, the application of the technologies available and industry innovations. 

Benchmarking Technologies
For any retail space standing at the start line to energy efficiency, benchmarking electricity data is the first step. This allows for visibility of the invisible commodity. Benchmarking energy consumptions through a software platform allows for ease of data capture, data management and data comprehension through dashboards, charts and graphs. In addition, through these software platforms, a retail space can compare energy consumption to other similar retail spaces through ENERGY STAR® or with other retail spaces utilizing the software platform.
Successful software platforms available in the market are:
Measurabl – this software platform is owned by Measurabl Inc.
SeaSuite – this software platform is owned by Goby Inc.
WegoWise – this software platform is owned by WegoWise Inc.

The second step is picking a software. When picking a software, it is important to understand the data structure, data capture system and ease of access to the data. Data structure is how the retail space data is set up within the platform’s data base. Data capture considers how the data is captured from the utility and inputted into the platform’s data base. Ease of access to the data is directly related to the data structure. If the data base of the software is set up well, dashboards, graphs and charts should load quickly and smoothly when accessed through the software’s interface.

Energy Management Technologies
Energy management software takes benchmarking to the next level. These software platforms use analytics to predict a building’s energy consumption, work with utility companies to understand electricity demand of the region’s grid system, and provide opportunities to manage (or curtail) a retail space’s energy consumption through demand response programs. 
Successful software platforms available in the market are:
EnerNOC – this software platform is owned by EnerNOC Inc.
Energy Curtailment Solutions – this software platform is owned by NRG Inc.

The analytics conducted by the software allows for retail spaces to response strategically to increasing demand of the grid that could lead to grid congestion. These software platforms also provide real time consumption information for the retail space as the companies prefers to connect directly to the meters located in the building. In addition, EnerNOC prefers to use EnerNOC compatible meters. The investment in these software platform is significant however the savings in energy consumption is significant as well.

Smarter Spaces
The ultimate smart retail space has the ability to control all mechanical components through one user interface instead of various different software.

Interactive Distributed Generation® - the software and service is provided by Power Secure Inc – works with on-site renewable generation or backup power generation to decrease peak demand related costs.

Another example is using a Building Automation System (BAS) integrated with an energy management technology such as Siemens Intelligent Load Management software. The idea is to create a building that has the ability to response strategically to any energy related event. Find out more here.

Integrated Technology

References:

  1. "Interview with Ryan Nelson, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Goby Inc." Personal interview. 3 Nov. 2015.
  2. "Interview with Edward Streibig, Implementation Team Lead of cr360 – a UL company." Personal interview. 3 Nov. 2015.
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