ML Strategies hosted an Environmental Business Council panel in Boston earlier this summer to discuss the latest technologies and programs in energy efficiency for commercial and industrial buildings. Frank Gorke, formerly responsible for efficiency programs at the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, provided the keynote with a review of the state’s role as a national leader in energy efficiency. When an audience member asked whether all cost-effective efficiency projects have already been done, Frank responded, “We have only just begun.” Several presentations that followed his remarks profiled companies that provide cutting-edge innovations in energy-efficiency technologies and infrastructure.

EnerNOC

As part of its comprehensive energy-management platform, which includes demand response, supply chain, and carbon emissions applications, EnerNOC offers its EfficiencySmart Insight product for monitoring building energy usage. Insight aggregates meter data to give building operators access to real-time usage data, generated in the form of interactive web-based dashboards and reports. With a clear view of operational inefficiencies, operators can reduce usage, mitigate peaks and demand charges with real-time alerts, improve the scheduling of equipment, and optimize investments in efficiency infrastructure. Since demand charges in particular can account for 20–30% of monthly bills, mitigating spikes can have a substantive impact. The Insight platform includes a benchmarking tool to enable large, multi-site organizations to compare and identify underperforming buildings.

Digital Lumens

Digital Lumens offers the first intelligent lighting system specifically designed for industrial facilities, particularly highbay and midbay lighting in warehouses, cold-storage facilities, and manufacturing plants. Run time for an industrial light is often around 8,760 hours (that is, nonstop, year-round) and $250,000 is a common annual energy bill for lighting a warehouse. LED bulbs developed by Digital Lumens emit comparable light with considerably lower wattage and heat output, and are longer-lasting and more rugged than conventional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. This bulb technology, coupled with an intelligent system that reduces run hours and automates light delivery when and where it is needed, can often reduce energy costs up to 90% for both retrofits and new construction.

iblogix

The team at iblogix believes it is a lack of quality information, not poor economics or a lack of owner motivation, that is preventing mass adoption of efficiency technologies. The software company has developed a Rapid Building Assessment platform that automates and standardizes whole building energy assessments, eliminating the need for costly on-site audits. Combining advanced analytics with econometric and energy data, its software can be used by utilities, energy service companies, and property owners to remotely benchmark building energy performance. Not only does this proactively identify and prioritize which buildings should be targeted for efficiency programs and products, but also provides specific recommendations customized to the building and customer, including operational and retrofit opportunities.

SourceOne

SourceOne offers energy-management and advisory services, providing customers with customized approaches to utilizing available energy resources and generating new solutions. Its analysts are trusted evaluators of new technologies, addressing common equipment ratings, such as in boilers, air-conditioning units, heat pumps, and lighting, as well as comparing system, equipment, and facility efficiencies. In considering a new hybrid boiler system, for example, a customer would benefit from SourceOne’s expert evaluation of equipment limitations, facility personnel skill levels, maintenance concerns, and rigorous financial analysis.