What do energy managers want? David Ulmer, our Vice President of Implementation Solutions and Product Owner here at EnergyCAP, was extensively quoted in a recent article in EnergyManagerToday.com with an answer to that question. At the core of the discussion was the technological reality that more and more energy data is becoming available, and that data needs to be effectively managed to achieve the twin goals of increased efficiency and energy savings. You can read more in the article, but today’s blog is a summary of what David has learned in hundreds of conversations with clients and contacts in the energy business.
Today’s blog reveals feedback from our post-Catalyst conference survey. Every year after our annual Catalyst Training for Savings conference, we provide an opportunity for attendees to share perspectives on their Catalyst experience. Congratulations to EnergyCAP client Lou Castelli for winning the survey Amazon Gift Card drawing!
Bill Lists have been introduced and upgraded in recent versions of EnergyCAP Online. The result is much more powerful and customizable displays of utility data. Clients working online will be amazed at the speed and flexibility of the improved application. Today’s blog explains a bit more about these helpful energy management tools.
Jared Matthews is Software Quality Assurance Engineer at EnergyCAP. As EnergyCAP, Inc. has taken its software products online, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have assumed increasing importance in our product development and quality assurance testing. This blog is about EnergyCAP’s API development, and exciting changes in our quality assurance processes that are making our online software versions more robust and useful for our growing client base.
Big ideas often have small beginnings. Today’s blog is about one such beginning, and it has to do with energy and human rights. But we’ll start our story with a different kind of beginning—a meeting of rebels in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1776. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...” Thus begins the second paragraph of what is arguably one of the greatest political documents ever penned, America’s Declaration of Independence.
George Mason University had begun its journey into computerized utility bill tracking in the 1990s, but its software solution, Faser Energy Accounting®, had been acquired by Enron®. After the Enron bankruptcy scandal, the university needed to reboot its energy management program. GMU’s Energy Manager, Patrick Buchanan, summarized the situation as follows:
It was spring break for Penn State students here in State College, PA, last week, but our team was hard at work producing a new webinar, How AccuWeather Data Provides Value to Energy Managers. Our CEO, Steve Heinz, teamed up with AccuWeather’s Director of Business Development Lou Seidel, to discuss how you can get the most up-to-date and accurate weather data, and turn that information into savings for the energy management program at your organization.
We haven’t run our “10 Top EnergyCAP Blogs” feature for quite a while, so we are presenting it now. These are the most-read blogs published in the last 14 months. Take a look through the list and click on the link(s) to view any that might offer value to you!
Today’s blog is a promotion for an upcoming live event webinar featuring EnergyCAP’s CEO Steve Heinz and Lou Seidel, Director of Business Development for AccuWeather. The webinar, sponsored by Energy Manager Today, is titled How AccuWeather Data Provides Value to Energy Managers, and will be held at 2:00 PM ET on Wednesday, March 9 (just one week from now).
In today’s blog we share highlights from a new case study by EnergyCAP. Municipal and regional government readers will take particular interest in this implementation-focused story about a major city that jump-started its energy program with utility bill management software. As the title of this blog (and the case study) suggests, Tucson, Arizona's software implementation was not without challenges. In some ways, it really was a dance, going two steps forward and one step back as stakeholders grappled with legacy processes, organizational issues, information silos, and even personnel changes. But in the end, the opportunities outweighed the issues as the City's new energy manager successfully negotiated multiple management challenges, discovering immediate and long-term payoffs.
Today we introduce a new energy management infographic available from EnergyCAP. And whether you are a customer or a first-time visitor, this resource may remind you why you would want to acquire or maintain a software tool for your energy program.
Good News! A/P and GL Export are coming to EnergyCAP Online, and soon—maybe even this month. Our developers are confident that EnergyCAP Online (ECO) 3.4.2 (with a tentative release date in late February for select clients) will include a functioning A/P and GL Export that will duplicate functionality that had previously been available only in the installed version of EnergyCAP Enterprise, including all filter options currently available in EnergyCAP Enterprise. Not only that, but there are some valuable enhancements.
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?
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?
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!
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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:
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: