Myth #2: Our Staff Have This Handled

When Fusebox first starts working with a new client, for the most part, the client is managing their utility data in one of two ways. Either they are just paying the bills and not managing it at all, or they are using an Excel spreadsheet. These spreadsheets end up being thousands of lines long, and generally, do not include any formulas for any true form of analysis. They are just lines and lines of data.

This is where the power of Fusebox lies. Our software and our people are able to analyze data, catch errors (as discussed in last week’s myth), and ensure our client is saving as much as possible. Below are two examples out of dozens about clients without the ability to fully understand and manage their data until Fusebox showed up.

Stop EMS’ing Around

Proper management of your Energy Management System (EMS) is one of the easiest and most effective ways to ensure energy savings. In a recent case, we began working with a client whose top management assumed that their EMS was properly being managed. However, this was a situation where everyone thought someone else had been handling it. Top management assumed that their controls vendor had properly set schedules and set points. The facilities director assumed that his individual facilities staff were properly managing the EMS. In reality, it had not been handled at all.

Once the Fusebox team started analyzing interval demand data, it became apparent that the EMS had not been set for quite a while, years even perhaps. Fusebox was able to approach both the vendor and client and recommend energy-saving schedules and set points, which have now been put in place. Due to the length of time that the EMS was not set for energy-savings, the client most likely lost out on at least $50,000 worth of savings.

This story showed us three important points. (1) Clients assume their controls contractors, who install and/or upgrade controls, properly set energy-saving schedules and set points, when, in many cases, this is not done. (2) Clients assume their facility team is properly managing their EMS, when, many times, they are not. (3) Decentralized control of an EMS, and management thereof, does not usually lead to success.

Up, Up, and Away

Most Accounts Payables departments pay the bills and then put them in a filing system, never to be seen or analyzed again. (I once had to dig around the unlit basement of a district office searching for one specific bill!) The department just does not have the human power nor time to truly study the bill. A few years ago, we began managing water data for a client. The client informed us that they had noticed a slight increase in the bills for one meter, but they were not sure why. They had spoken to their facilities staff, had walked the site, and there had been no change in water usage nor was there any water pooling anywhere. Thus, they just let it go and chalked it up to an increase in fees from the utility.

Once the water data was input into Fusebox, we noticed that there was not a slight increase in water usage. There was a substantial one much greater than any possible fee increase! Building water usage had jumped from 128,656 gal to 712,050 gal within one month. This was over a 453% increase! We strongly urged the client to continue the hunt because this, undoubtably, showed a leak. Sure enough, after an extensive search, they were able to find an underground leak adjacent to the foundation of one of the buildings. Without our insisting that they continue to search for the leak, there is a good chance this building could have eventually collapsed.

These are two examples of when our clients just did not have the time nor knowledge to help themselves save. It was with our help that they learned about opportunities, put them in place, and ended up saving quite a bit. In the end, this is why we do what we do!