6 Notes on Budgeting for Energy and Sustainability Software in 2013

We’re seeing more companies allocating budget dollars for energy and sustainability software in 2013. To help you with your budgeting plans, here is some anecdotal information about what other organizations are doing.

  1. Several companies are planning to purchase enterprise energy management software to track and reduce energy use. The biggest decision point is often whether to include interval data. Large, multi-side companies rarely can justify centralized monitoring of interval data unless they already have linked building management systems, but some vendors are doing very innovative things with remote monitoring and control of HVAC and electricity.
  1. Organizations continue to look for cost-effective metering of the utility main meter or specific loads.  Solutions vary from using the utilities’ interval meter, the meters installed by demand response vendors, traditional metering solutions from Emon, Rockwell.  New wireless meters and data loggers from Panoramic Power, Onset, OutSmart Power Systems, Powerhouse Dynamics and others bring down the fully installed cost per meter (which we have seen ranges from $7,500 to $12,500 for meter, communications, and maintenance).
  1. At least one company secured custom incentives from a utility to help fund the purchase of enterprise energy management software. (We hope more utilities provide more financial incentives for these types of behavior changes).
  1. Some companies struggle with just maintaining a clean energy database for all their facilities based on monthly utility bills.  These companies look to traditional utility bill management vendors like Ecova, Schneider (Summit Energy), Siemens (Pace Global), Entech, NISC and newer approaches like Urjanet.
  1. Companies plan to purchase enterprise carbon accounting and sustainability software, often to ease burden of responding to sustainability surveys from their top customers (like Walmart) and sales prospects.
  1. A handful of companies are coming to the end of their initial 2-3 year contracts with a SaaS vendor for enterprise carbon accounting and are debating the merits of renewing or evaluating vendors again.  Some are considering wider solutions that involve EHS or energy management.

While energy prices in general are flat and the intensity around sustainability has lessened, companies continue to find the need for software to automate their maturing processes for energy management.

Paul Baier is vice president of sustainability consulting and research at Groom Energy.

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