August 2013
Interview

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Paul BaierEMAIL INTERVIEW Paul Baier and Ken Sinclair

Paul Baier, Vice President, Sustainability Consulting and Research
Paul leads Groom Energy's Sustainability Consulting practice, which assists Groom Energy's customers with their sustainability and energy reduction strategies, carbon footprint, and responses to supply chain surveys such as Walmart Supplier Assessment and Carbon Disclosure Project.

Paul is the primary author of a large report on energy management software and publishes Groom's research report titled “The 2013 Buyers' Guide for Enterprise Carbon Accounting and Sustainability Software”. He also authors a sustainability blog, and moderates EnterpriseSmartGrid.org.


Turn-key Energy Efficiency Solutions

As part of our a recently released research report, we conducted 68 interviews with corporate energy, facility, and sustainability managers and conducted an online survey of 158 companies.

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Sinclair: What is Groom Energy Solutions?

Baier:  Groom Energy is a services company and is a leading provider of commercial and industrial turn-key energy efficiency solutions. Customers including Bed, Bath & Beyond, General Electric, Ocean Spray and Thermo Fisher Scientific. The company delivers a range of services from corporate sustainability and whole building energy assessments to turnkey installations at enterprise facilities across the United States. Groom’s projects help their customers reduce costs while positively affecting the environment.

Sinclair: What is Enterprise Smart Grid?

Baier:  In response to the confusion in the market of overlapping terms and vendor offering, Groom Energy offers a set of thought leadership research and technology reports.  We sell Corporate Buyers’ Guides for Industrial LED Lighting, Energy Management Software and Sustainability Software.

Enterprise Smart Grid (ESG) is our framework to help companies different technology, vendors and project requirements.  ESG is the integration of energy metering, hardware and software by organizations seeking visibility, control and management of their energy consumption.   ESG the demand-side of the market and complements the Utility Smart Grid which drives utility services to the main meter of facilities for organizations.

With an explosion of new technologies and solutions, the landscape has been changing and evolving quickly.  The ESG frameworks reduces this confusion. 

We also publish reduces confusion for corporate energy managers, utilities, investors, and vendors by defining eleven distinct functional areas and categorizing vendor solutions in each of these areas. 

Sinclair: What trends are you seeing in the market?

Baier:  As part of our a recently released research report, we conducted 68 interviews with corporate energy, facility, and sustainability managers and conducted an online survey of 158 companies.  We found that:
 
•    The overall market for ESG-related offerings is $6.2B remains promising but growth slowed a bit from 40% to 15% due to flat energy prices and slower than anticipated economic growth
•    Energy savings remains the primary driver for corporate ESG investment in projects, people and process
•    Eighteen percent of large companies surveyed plan to invest in energy management software in 2013
•    The term “energy management” is overused and vague.  Anything from the procurement of electricity, to utility bill analysis, or the implementation of a building management system is put into the category
•    Vendor awareness by corporate leaders remains low with no single vendor recognized more than 31% of survey respondents
•    When evaluating a particular vendor solution, managers should focus on the functional needs within their industry type and a vendor’s installed base. Solutions differ significantly by industry vertical (such as retail or heavy manufacturing)
•    Many venture-backed, software-centric startups have struggled.  Growing ESG vendors have a combination of energy efficiency industry expertise, software and broad services including consulting, call center support and outsourced energy analytics.
•    Enterprise Energy Management Software is a growing category and includes management of bill and interval data, energy projects and carbon emissions
•    Software that actually controls equipment has the highest ROI
•    BMS manufacturers have finally opened up their BMS systems for data access and to third party vendors
•    Traditional vendor boundaries continue to merge. Examples include lighting controls vendors expanding to Internet-based monitoring and control of non-lighting assets and demand response vendors offering energy management software.

Reliable ControlsSinclair: What trends are you seeing on submetering?

Baier:  We are seeing pricing of installed submeters drop by 30 percent.   Developing energy management insights requires capturing interval data from both the main utility meters and submeters of top energy loads.  Metering costs vary significantly depending on the utility (electric, gas, steam, or water), whether utility-grade metering is required, and the level of installation, maintenance and communication complexity. 

Meters have a wide price range: at low-end Onset HOBO data loggers cost $50 and at the high-end, advanced solutions include $3,000 Rockwell Power Meters and utility grade meters from GE and E-Mon D-Mon.  Fully loaded installed costs (including labor to install and communication setup) range from free (from the utility main meters), to $75, to $9,000.

In the past twenty-four months, several factors have led to a 30 percent drop (our estimate) in the installed cost of electric submetering on a per point basis.  Factors driving this drop include:

•    Pricing pressure from new vendor entrants with wireless and circuit monitoring approaches (examples include Powerhouse Dynamics, Panoramic Power andOutstart Power Systems)
•    Increased availability of free or low cost interval data directly from utilities and through applications used by utilities from building analytics firms like First Fuel,Retroficiency, or C3 Energy
•    Increased use of meters for M&V in Demand Response which can also be used for building monitoring (EnerNOC installed base DR sites is now over 14,000, up significantly in the last several years.)
•    Increased deployment of digital utility main meters or smart meters
•    Increased availability of trained technicians to install hardware and software
•    Lower cost of communications using Wifi, LAN cellular or radio communications
•    Increased use of temporary metering and logging tools

Collectively these trends are driving higher adoption for companies implementing metering to identify energy savings opportunities.   The reduced cost of installed submeters doesn't solve the problem of energy ownership, but for organizations committed to energy efficiency and with more mature energy management programs, more cost effective options now exist.

Sinclair: Where can readers get more information?

Baier:  Here are some sites:

www.GroomEnergy.com
practicalsustainability.blogspot.com
www.EnterpriseSmartGrid.orgNiagara and nHaystack ProtocolNiagara and nHaystack Protocol


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