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Barry Kroeker

Primary Election 2016: What’s an Energy Voter to Do?

The caucuses are closed in Iowa, and the political pundits are already busy prognosticating about what happened there and what will happen in the New Hampshire primary election next Tuesday. If you don’t vote in either place, you know that election fever is soon coming to your state or commonwealth, county, municipality, and precinct. It’s a presidential election year, and if you are registered to vote, you’ll have the opportunity to determine who represents you in the fall elections. So who do you choose, and how do you choose? What’s an energy voter to do?

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Chris Heinz

Using Negative Feedback to Your Advantage

We've all been in this situation before. Your supervisor asks you to step into her office, or your boss sets up an unexpected lunch meeting. All of the sudden, you're in an unwelcome feedback situation. Something has gone wrong and you're not sure how to respond. What do you do?

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Barry Kroeker

Excel Cheats for EnergyCAP Setup (Import) and Update Sheets

Today’s blog is specifically for EnergyCAP clients who are either in the implementation process or who are looking for better ways to make large-scale organizational changes to their EnergyCAP database.   We want to show you how to do things better—to “cheat” what could be a lengthy or tedious setup process by using Excel to import setup data or organization updates more quickly. And a big thank-you to EnergyCAP Senior Project Manager SJ Bergman for explaining these cheats to me!

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Barry Kroeker

News “Flash” – Catalyst 2016 is all about Progress

If he was still alive, Steve Jobs would probably have grinned at last year’s news that YouTube moved from Flash to HTML5 as its primary technology for delivering videos. Click here for a great article about YouTube’s four-year transition. And here’s the 2010 Steve Jobs letter that some say sealed the fate of Flash as a primary web development platform. But what does this have to do with energy management?

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Barry Kroeker

Bill CAPture Service Addresses Major Customer Pain Point

Does utility bill data entry burden you? It’s been more than a year now since we began promoting our Bill CAPture service here at EnergyCAP to provide efficient and relatively inexpensive ways for our customers to process their utility billing data. The support and interest we received up front from many long-time users of our energy management software gave us assurance that we were on the right track, and a long-term state government contract will be helping us to build out this robust program even more.

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Barry Kroeker

Nuggets of Weather Wisdom to Close Out the Old Year

In hopes of brightening your bleak mid-winter, we offer a few nuggets of weather wisdom from our latest Energy Leader webinar. Here are Steve Heinz's written responses to chat questions submitted by attendees during the session, which has been recorded and is available online: Why not throw another Yule log on the fire and settle back in your chair for an interesting read about energy and weather?

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Barry Kroeker

Nailing Your Utility Budget

Why rely on “guesstimates” when you can nail your annual utility budget with the right budget process? It’s all about accounting for variables, and weather is the biggest variable out there. But do you have a coherent and logical approach for correlating weather with your facility energy use? There’s a science to it. And like most sciences, it can be taught and learned. In this recorded webinar, EnergyCAP CEO Steve Heinz will be the teacher, and he will introduce a few guiding principles for utility budgeting.

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Barry Kroeker

An Up Close and Personal Budget Blog

Three years ago, Sales and Marketing (me) had a bit of a falling out with Accounts Payable (my wife). To be honest, it was a bit more than a falling out. It was a communication problem that was adversely affecting our marriage. No matter how I tried to “bring home the bacon,” we always were spending every dime and more, and our credit card debt was growing ominously. I was resentful and she was defensive. And if momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy, as the saying goes. We weren’t miserable, but we had recently made a commitment to really grow in our marriage relationship, and the money issues were getting in the way.

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Barry Kroeker

The Icing on the Cake

It’s usually nice to get those letters that start off with “I’m pleased to inform you …” It’s sort of the opposite of the “Dear John” letter. Sure, sometimes someone is just trying to sell you something, but often the news is genuinely good, and that was the case last month when we received our notification from Energy Manager Today that EnergyCAP, Inc. had won a Product of the Year award for our EnergyCAP energy management software. This wasn't the first national award we claimed this year, but the third. So in some ways, it was icing on the cake—a great way to cap a calendar year of progress and innovation. This most recent award has delighted me for three reasons:

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Barry Kroeker

The Nitty Gritty of Obtaining Your ENERGY STAR Building Certification

In today’s blog, we are going to run through the entire process of obtaining an ENERGY STAR building certification for your commercial building. Studies have shown that ENERGY STAR certified buildings: Have lower operating costs Are more marketable Contribute fewer greenhouse gas emissions to the environment Command higher rental rates Have increased asset value So there is real value in investing time and effort in the certification process. Here’s how you do it.

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Barry Kroeker

Treasure Hunting at Loudoun County Public Schools

Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) is a pretty special place from an energy management perspective. The district earned “ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year” in 2010 and 2011, and the Partner of the Year–Sustained Excellence Award for the last four years. Over the last 21 years, LCPS has saved over $64 million in expected utility costs—equivalent to hiring over 1,300 first year teachers or educating over 5,200 pupils for a year. In addition, 62 LCPS schools have earned the ENERGY STAR rating (representing over 70 percent of LCPS schools and 6.5 million square feet). In today’s blog, I’d like to highlight the energy savings potential revealed and, at least in part, unleashed by their energy management software. It’s a little like treasure hunting—once you start digging, you’ll be amazed at what you find.

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Barry Kroeker

EnergyCAP Sales: UNMASKED

We’ve been blogging recently about personnel and departments here at EnergyCAP, and today we’d like to introduce you to our illustrious Sales team. Nationally, EnergyCAP sales are handled by five staff members who all work out of our company headquarters in State College, PA. They are responsible for pursuing marketing leads, attending trade shows, making contacts with prospect organizations, generating and processing RFI/RFP documents, and generally making the sales process as convenient, pleasant, and effective as possible for our valued prospects and clients. I think you will enjoy meeting them!

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Barry Kroeker

Help Creating Your Annual Utilities Budget

Today’s blog features Q&A from our recent Energy Leader Webinar on “How to Create an Annual Utilities Budget.” We start off with general questions relating to budgeting approaches, variables and philosophy, and then move on to EnergyCAP application-specific questions. The final questions are in regard to the new Budgets Worksheet module in EnergyCAP, which produces an Excel spreadsheet enabling users to model and adjust their utilities budget for each commodity and building.  And now, here’s the Q&A:

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John Lord

The Top 10 “People Factors” in Energy Management Success

John Lord is an Energy Education Specialist for Loudoun County (VA) Public Schools, one of the fastest-growing school districts in one of the nation's fastest growing counties. The district serves more than 70,000 students, and utilities are a big expense and an energy management opportunity. In the last two decades, the district has documented more than $60 million in cost avoidance attributable to energy management activities. In today’s guest blog, John shares the Top 10 “people factors” that have contributed to his organization's energy management excellence:

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Barry Kroeker

EnergyCAP Release 3.4.0 Offers ENERGY STAR Improvements

EnergyCAP 3.4.0 is now available for EnergyCAP-hosted clients! The first user to log in this week will see the update notice in the Login Manager and should click on the prompts to complete the upgrade.  This upgrade includes exciting improvements to the ENERGY STAR interface, as well as support for the optional custom report designer Plug-In for Excel®. Read on to find out more about the new features.

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Chris Heinz

Four Reasons I Close My Email While Working

I used to keep my email inbox open all the time while working. One monitor displayed my active project—a spreadsheet, document or web browser—while the other monitor displayed my inbox. This way I could stay on top of everything at the same time. I was king of the world. But then a coworker suggested I didn’t have to work with an open inbox. At first I didn’t trust him. It seemed unproductive, irresponsible, and rude. But one day curiosity got the better of me, and I closed my inbox. I liked it so much that now I always close my email during focused tasks. I think you will, too. Here are four quick reasons why:

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Barry Kroeker

How Utility Bill Data Can Save You Money—Part 4

In recent blogs, we’ve been looking at ways your utility bill data can save you money. Today we will focus on the unique opportunities available to large organizations—opportunities that actually grow in size/potential with the size of the organization.

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Barry Kroeker

How Utility Bill Data Can Save You Money—Part 3

In recent blogs, we’ve been looking at ways your utility bill data can save you money. Today we’ll see how the State of Maryland responded to a legislative energy mandate that had a very specific savings goal of 15 percent. How did they pursue that vision? We'll discover that data transparency and availability can translate into savings.

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Barry Kroeker

How Utility Bill Data Can Save You Money—Part 2

We're continuing our blog series on how utility bill data can save you money. Today we'll look at the City of San Bernardino, CA, and UniFirst Corporation. Seize Your Opportunities Disorganized energy data causes you to miss opportunities. In 2012, at the height of the recent recession, many government, city/county governments had cash flow issues. There were four California cities that declared bankruptcy, and one of them was the city of San Bernardino—population roughly 210,000. The city was looking for a way to save money and obtain additional revenue.

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Chris Heinz

Cute Budget Video

Unfortunately, sometimes just saving isn't enough. Good planning, like budgeting, is essential. This little girl didn't budget correctly, and the result was, well, disappointing. Watch what happens. 

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Barry Kroeker

How Utility Bill Data Can Save You Money—Part 1

There’s been a lot of buzz in the energy industry in recent years over the power of demand management for generating big savings, and this has led to an understandable focus on installing smart metering, automating building controls, and obtaining 15-minute interval data. But what do you do for savings if the real-time metering or control infrastructure is not in place? The answer is simple. You work with the energy data you already have—your monthly utility bills. And how do you turn that data into savings?

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Chris Heinz

Ten Most Popular TED Talks on Energy

Probably at some point, someone has asked if you've seen the latest TED talk on so-and-so. The first time that happened to me, I was like, "Ted said what?" But since then, I've become a fan of the 18-minute talks that spread ideas on technology, entertainment, and design (that's where the name TED comes from). So if you're looking to be educated, challenged, or even inspired in your work, here's a countdown of the ten most popular TED talks on energy.

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Chris Heinz

Five Questions and Answers on Real-time Energy Metering

We recently presented a webinar with Lucid Design Group on the relationship between real-time metering and utility bill data–and the savings opportunities they deliver. The webinar produced some good questions from the audience, and we're sharing the answers in today's blog.

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Barry Kroeker

[Infographic] Unifirst Corporation—Doing Your Laundry

We love blogging about our successful clients! As one of the largest uniform services provider in the U.S., UniFirst Corporation has a unique energy profile based on its laundering operations. These activities require custom report metrics. But with facilities widely scattered all over the U.S. and other countries, UniFirst had difficulties with utility bill management and data collection. EnergyCAP provided a scalable tracking and reporting solution. This infographic helps tell their story...

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Barry Kroeker

Reassurance is Futile … (Don't seek it)

Is the success of your work day based on approval? If so, author and speaker Seth Godin might nudge you in a different direction. Godin, whose books on how ideas spread and how to be a change agent have become international bestsellers, challenged a standing-room-only crowd of 14,000 in Boston last week to give up the search for permission and approval from the powers that be, and to take personal responsibility for organizational success. I was in Boston to attend the conference where he spoke, and would like to share workplace lessons from his talk in today's blog.

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Chris Heinz

Emotional Courage Often Missing in the Workplace

Last week I attended a live presentation by bestselling author and TED talk speaker Dr. Brené Brown. Her 2010 Ted talk, “The power of vulnerability,” is one of the top five most viewed TED talks ever, with more than 21 million views. But last week she didn’t talk about vulnerability; instead she spoke about having emotional courage in the workplace. In this blog post, I’d like to share some takeaways from her talk. Before you roll your eyes and “get back to work,” stay with me. Emotional courage is needed at work. But first, a story.

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Steve Heinz

Why PV Solar and Wind Add New Challenges for M&V

An important aspect of energy management is the measurement and verification (M&V) of energy management initiatives, whether behavior/operational or hardware/retrofits.  Besides the obvious need to verify savings when the contract is based on performance, M&V also provides valuable feedback to participants and senior management. But M&V waters can become muddied when on-site renewables such as PV solar and wind turbines are involved.

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Barry Kroeker

Dirty Laundry Offers Energy Management Challenge

UniFirst Corporation has a unique energy profile based on its laundering operations. But with facilities widely scattered all over the U.S. and other countries, UniFirst had difficulties with utility bill management and data collection—until they started using EnergyCAP.

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Chris Heinz

Energy Management [Infographic]

Ever since we started helping organizations track their utility bills 35 years ago, we've noticed two paths that organizations frequently travel on the road to energy management success. We focused on one of those paths in an earlier blog (the path of utility bill processing maturity). Today we’ll focus on the path of energy management maturity. Like any path, it has a starting point, and a destination, with landmarks along the way. We’ve captured that path in an infographic, and are sharing it in this blog.  

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