Powerhouse Dynamics: Saving the Bottom Line at Bertucci’s | Powerhouse Dynamics
“A 12 month payback should be a no-brainer for most firms. It seems to be a solid low cost option for retail controls and monitoring. I like the additional ability to monitor use of individual pieces of equipment. Most small retail systems only control HVAC and lighting so this adds additional functionality and value to the client.”
--Energy Manager Today Awards judge
Bertucci’s, an 89-unit full-service Italian restaurant group, wanted to sharply reduce their increasing energy expenditures. The CEO challenged the facilities department to produce $500,000 in savings; the company chose SiteSage Enterprise Energy & Asset Management System from Powerhouse Dynamics for a 3-store pilot project.
The installation included “smart” thermostats for HVAC control, energy sensors on circuits powering key pieces of equipment and lighting, and temperature sensors in walk-in coolers and freezers. All of these sensors and thermostats were cloud-connected via the SiteSage wireless gateway. SiteSage’s patented algorithms analyzed the data to produce real-time energy-saving alerts and reports, along with controls. After a 4 month pilot, SiteSage demonstrated the potential for significant savings, with an average payback across the locations of 11.8 months. Based on this, Bertucci’s expanded the project to 13 locations.
Bertucci’s assigned a Project Manager (PM) to work with Powerhouse Dynamics on the project. The PM and the general managers of each of the pilot locations were trained on the SiteSage system and worked with Powerhouse to define useful reports and alerts. The PM and a representative from Bertucci’s Finance department met with the Powerhouse team regularly to review results and tweak the configuration of the SiteSage alerts. Throughout the pilot, the GMs worked closely with Powerhouse Dynamics to decide how to address equipment problems and inefficiencies.
SiteSage found energy-saving opportunities across the 13 Bertucci’s locations. The system enforced more efficient thermostat settings. It identified a significant amount of kitchen equipment being left on after hours, and heating equipment left on in summer months, and provided management with the ongoing information to virtually eliminate these inefficiencies.
Based on actual utility bill data, SiteSage reduced electric use by 12% and gas use by 9% compared to the control group. This saved approximately $7,000 per location per year, and yielded a payback of 11.4 months; slightly less than the payback projection after the initial pilot. In addition to energy savings, the system also reduced maintenance costs by providing advance notice of equipment issues.
With this information, the facilities department was able to demonstrate how to meet the $500,000 savings challenge across the enterprise with SiteSage alone.
While SiteSage does control HVAC, it also centrally monitors energy usage of other major energy-consuming equipment, including lighting, and leverages a patented analytics engine to highlight problems and inefficiencies, Powerhouse Dynamics points out.
“The project helped identify hidden inefficiencies and provided the opportunity to identify energy waste from smaller equipment that may not normally be focused on,” said one judge.