Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An impressive case study: Office Depot Saves $2m/year across 1,200 stores with Energy Management

We are fan of case studies as they clearly demonstrate the value of a particular vendor's solution.  The Office Depot case study with the Phoenix Energy Technology is impressive and shows where multi-site energy management is going in next ten years.

As a national retailer, Office Depot is constantly looking for ways to improve margins at its 1,200 stores without adding labor.  Office Depot already has implemented lighting and HVAC upgrades and has a system of networked BMS systems.  They turned to Phoenix Energy Technology to drive additional savings based on behavior changes (adjusting lighting and temperature controls) without adding more labor or work at each store.  The Phoenix solution is based on remote visibility and control of lighting and HVAC.   

In our Enterprise Smart Grid framework, we differentiate between vendor solutions that focus on energy use Visibility from those that drive energy savings from Control with Visibility.  Both have advantages, but significant, cost savings can be driven by actually controlling energy loads and not just monitoring them, especially in environments where facility managers are overloaded and energy accountability is lacking.  Solutions that provide Visibility to energy use identify energy use anomalies and potential energy savings opportunities, but these savings are not realized until a facility manager actually changes something at the building.  An identified energy use anomaly not acted upon is not energy savings.

Control and Visibility solutions, like the one from Phoenix, send control signals back to the building to adjust lighting and HVAC, without local facility managers getting involved.   This is much more difficult implementation and requires a plethora of operation procedures and technical integration between Office Depot's 1,200 stores and Phoenix's software and monitoring capabilities, but the results are notable.  Office Depot is saving over $2m per year.   Moreover, these savings continue to occur each year as Phoenix and Office Depot refine the monitoring and control parameters.

This outsourced remote control of lighting and HVAC for 1,200 facilities doesn't work for all industries, but is very applicable for national retailers with networked BMS systems across their stores.   Read more about this implementation here.

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