Educate March 2019

Energy Detectives


Written By: Tracy Wright

GRU Software helps businesses pinpoint waste

Last year, Bosshardt Realty discovered alarming rises in energy and cooling costs in one of the buildings it owns that houses Naylor Publications. Energy usage had doubled, and energy was not winding down at 4 p.m. Usage had also increased over the weekend, and systems were running at full speed, even while the building had minor use during those times.

For help, Bosshardt turned to GRU to explore what could be going wrong. GRU had recently began using the third-party Automated Energy software to continuously monitor energy use at businesses. The platform collects data from the meter every 15 minutes and shows how, when and where energy is used.

Automated Energy provides the business customer a lot more data than a typical bill; this provides a powerful tool in controlling costs, said Michael McCabe, GRU’s business efficiency program manager.

Reno Rubeis of Bosshardt Realty worked with McCabe to assess why the Naylor building was seeing a drastic increase in power usage.

“Through our analysis, we found that a 2017 storm had caused a power outage that had affected the software and HVAC system,” McCabe said. “The historical data provided by the tool allowed us to recalibrate the variable air vent (VAV) units and update control software. The profiler verified the effectiveness of the upgrades.”

According to “Energy Manager Today,” the massive potential of energy efficiency has typically been underused, but that is changing quickly. The demand for tools to guide and streamline energy reporting will continue to grow 10 percent annually over the next four years.

Experts estimate that the business demand for more immediate insight into energy use will continue to rise. Private business and the public sector are looking to public utilities for energy management software solutions.

“Once customers begin to see an anomaly, we can help with how to analyze data or how they can use the information to make significant changes to control costs and save energy,” McCabe said.

Customers can receive automated reports via email at any time interval they choose, whether it’s once a day or once a month. Many customers choose to receive their usage history each morning so that they can see how the previous day’s energy was used and when their energy peaked, McCabe said.

“I recommend anyone that is responsible for buildings, large and small, to utilize the benefit provided by GRU,” Rubeis said. “It provided invaluable confirmation to the energy intake of the building and identified the peaks and valleys. You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

Commercial customers interested in using the Automated Energy platform should contact GRU at 352-334-3434. 

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