I spoke with a couple of industry executives about their thoughts on what’s going on in the energy management industry. Here’s what they had to say:
Dennis Quinn, Energy Industry Executive, Joule Assets, Inc.
Q: In a recent Joule Assets press release, it was stated that the small to midsize EE market is going through a transformation thanks to financing vehicles. Can you elaborate on this?
A: What we see is with the advent of new technologies reaching smaller and smaller customer segments (due to price points and ease of installation), these customers can now avail of a broader array of energy efficiency and control solutions. A small subset of integrators and solutions providers see the opportunity as are a growing number of utilities. A key in the SME market is origination – how to cost effectively reach them with a compelling and no or minimal up-front cost approach. This is where financing comes in. We believe these SME opportunities can be cost-effectively serviced if conditional cash flows, such as auto-DR, are incorporated (and financed).
Q: Where do you see the future of energy management heading?
A: Integrated energy management is the key, as we see it. For the largely untapped SME market, combining control with energy efficiency measures improves the payback and allows for financing (due to a low cost M&V component). The investor (such as Joule) can “keep an eye” on the performance of its investments and can confirm to the customer that savings and performance are (or are not) being achieved.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you have experienced in recruiting talent?
A: Finding experienced (affordable) people with both EE and a controls background that also understand the wholesale market.
Rich Huntley, VP Sales, Retroficiency, Inc.
Q: As a leader in energy management, what trends do you see on the horizon?
A: To date, energy efficiency has focused on a small fragment of the commercial building opportunity. In many cases, the lack of availability of data has hampered efficiency efforts. Now, energy analytics can help to unlock the efficiency potential in various ways across more segments.
For example, small and medium businesses (SMBs) have generally been underserved in commercial energy efficiency programs. Analytics are helping to drive program engagement and participation more effectively across this segment. They are also facilitating comprehensive building evaluations for SMBs to uncover more energy savings aside from just the low hanging fruit like lighting.
Energy analytics have the potential to be a game changer for retro-commissioning programs. It’s been a challenge for these programs to be cost effective. However, utilities like Connecticut Light & Power are starting to leverage energy analytics to identify high quality candidates for retro-commissioning programs and secure their participation, which can help to decrease program costs significantly.
Q: Retroficiency is an award winning company and was named by Bloomberg BusinessWeek in 2012 as “One of America’s most promising social entrepreneurs.” What makes your company so successful as a social entrepreneur? Please tell us about your mission to create and sustain social value.
A: Retroficiency has a laser focus on our customers’ needs and a deep understanding of building science. And, we thrive in an agile environment. This allows us to continuously adapt and refine our Building Efficiency Intelligence (BEI) platform to ensure it offers invaluable, innovative solutions to scale energy efficiency in commercial buildings.
With our platform, utilities and large energy service providers can target the best buildings for energy savings, which is critical since 30% of buildings within a building portfolio typically account for 70% of the efficiency opportunity. They can also engage customers with customized efficiency opportunities and convert assessments into real projects that maximize savings. With our newest platform solution, Efficiency Track, they can dynamically track for new efficiency opportunities and verify savings — an important way to re-engage customers.
There is $1 trillion in potential energy savings during the next 10 years, but it would take $50 billion and 22 years to audit every building in the United States using traditional methods. Retroficiency was created to change that reality.
Matthew Cohen serves as the Energy Practice Leader for DRI’s Energy Management sector comprised of Energy Management Software, Demand Response, Energy Services, Energy Efficiency, Building Automation, AMI & AMR Technologies, Energy Management Hardware and Systems Integration. Contact Matt Cohen at 440-996-0860 / firstname.lastname@example.org