April 2011


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Steve DushaneEMAIL INTERVIEWSteve Dushane & Ken Sinclair

Steve Dushane, President & CEO, Venstar Inc.

Steve Dushane is founder, president and CEO of Venstar® Inc., a leading thermostat and energy management system (EMS) supplier.

The Greening of HVAC Controls

Reducing electricity and natural gas usage immediately improves a company’s bottom line, and it also helps reduce its carbon footprint through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

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Sinclair:  With companies focused on sustainability, how are HVAC controls helping them to go green? 

Dushane:  Lighting and HVAC represent a significant portion of energy consumption for most companies.  Reducing electricity and natural gas usage immediately improves a company’s bottom line, and it also helps reduce its carbon footprint through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).  Venstar’s Surveyor Energy Management System (EMS) is specifically designed for small-box retailers, restaurant chains, and multi-location businesses.  For companies with hundreds or thousands of locations, reducing HVAC and lighting runtimes translates into millions of dollars saved and has an extraordinary positive impact on the environment.

Sinclair:  With a seemingly unlimited way to do EMS reporting, how do companies use the data in these reports to most effectively reach their sustainability objectives?

Dushane:  Our system can easily manage a chain’s entire portfolio of stores by collecting and aggregating data via the Internet from hundreds or thousands of locations.   Exception reports identify equipment that is broken or malfunctioning, allowing a company to prioritize repairs or replacements.  Exception reports also improve store operations by identifying lighting or HVAC equipment operating outside corporate settings.  Power monitoring and equipment runtime reports can then be used to verify energy reduction as part of a corporate sustainability program.  Because of this high level of automation, a single person can now manage the entire portfolio of stores.

Sinclair:  Will this monitoring go beyond HVAC and lighting?

Dushane:  Yes, the energy management industry itself is broadening to include a greater monitoring of store maintenance functions and integration with work order systems.  Because it was engineered specifically for small-box national retail accounts, the system is able to collect all of the necessary equipment data while requiring very little of the customers’ network bandwidth.  Surveyor has a minimal impact on the customers’ IT infrastructure.

contemporary Sinclair:  What is the typical savings companies can get when they utilize HVAC and lighting controls to manage their energy usage?

Dushane:  Our customers typically see a 25 percent energy savings in the first year across their portfolio of stores.  It can vary both from chain to chain and store to store.  Individual locations may be so poorly managed that much higher energy savings are possible.  We have seen it as high as 70 percent at an individual store.  Additional savings are possible year-after-year, as users shift their focus from the correction action required for outliers to an enterprise wide strategy of ongoing optimization.  These customers can easily participate in utility-sponsored Demand Response programs or use the system to evaluate the impact of higher efficiency equipment or improvements to store operations.

Sinclair:  What products do you offer to help companies go green?

Dushane:  Venstar’s Surveyor is a web-based EMS that allows small box retailers, restaurant chains, and other multi-location businesses to remotely monitor, manage, and control their energy usage.  It is currently installed in more than 13,000 locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.  Venstar is also one of the world’s largest thermostat manufacturers.  We offer a full line of thermostats that employ the latest technologies, including wireless products, voice recognition, and full-color touch screens. 



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