CASCADE ENERGY INTRODUCES SENSEI ENERGY EFFICIENCY PLATFORM

First-ever system connecting actions to energy performance unlocks new efficiencies for industrial companies and utilities


ATLANTA – (October 31, 2012) — A first-of-its-kind energy efficiency management system designed to help industrial companies master their energy spend was introduced today by Cascade Energy, a leading provider of energy efficiency services, at the World Energy Engineering Congress.


Taking aim at the $95 billion annual energy bill of U.S. industrial companies, the new SENSEI™ energy efficiency platform is a comprehensive Web-based system that makes it possible for industrial leaders to establish true energy performance, drive action to reduce consumption and track associated savings across entire enterprises.

 

“With SENSEI, energy management can move beyond one-time capital upgrades or occasional best practices to a comprehensive system that encourages the sustained action required to capture greater efficiency,” said Dan Brown, Cascade Energy vice president of product development.

 

“We can now connect actions to energy performance in a way that drives change in operations and maintenance, employee behavior and management practices. This opens the door for significant sustainable savings, and in some utility territories, significant incentives.”

 

SENSEI was created by Cascade Energy due to the absence of actions-to-performance energy management systems available in the marketplace. The company, located in Portland, Oregon, self-funded the yearlong development of SENSEI with a 10-person development team. The platform has been tested in large industrial enterprises and has application in commercial buildings.

 

SENSEI provides real-time energy consumption tracking and visual displays of key performance indicators, including energy correlations to plant throughput, comparisons with previous periods, event tagging overlaid on energy performance and reporting of cumulative savings across multiple facilities. The company has also built SENSEI to help industrial customers track their carbon footprint.

 

The introduction of SENSEI comes at a time when industrial companies are working diligently to contain energy costs, which are growing faster than the consumer price index and represent 5-40 percent of a manufacturing company’s cost of goods. According to Pike Research, the industrial energy management software and services industry is expected to achieve 22 percent annualized growth through 2020.

 

SENSEI is available in North America on a subscription basis to utilities and companies. Service options for professional support, meter installation, sub-metering, data aggregation, and transmission hardware are also available. More information is available at www.energysensei.com.

 

Cascade Energy has experienced four-fold growth over the past five years, and now employs over 90 professionals. The company is one of the largest in the nation dedicated to industrial energy efficiency. Completed projects total more than 3,000 across a variety of industries including, cold storage, refrigerated warehouse, food processing, agribusiness, oil and gas, pulp and paper, and general manufacturing sectors. Cascade Energy has operated in about half the industrial sites in the Northwest and, six years ago, expanded its service area across North America. The company’s projects are saving industrial companies roughly two billion kWh annually, amounting to $125 million saved per year.

 

Contact:
Doug Anderson, 503.928.4811
mediarelations@cascadeenergy.com

Kroger Q&A

Getting on the Same Page with SENSEI Action Item Tracking
Q&A with Bryan Handy, Kroger Logistics Sustainability Project Manager

 

SENSEI: Tell me about Kroger’s energy program and goals.

Bryan Handy: The energy program at Kroger has been ongoing for several years, but initially, we didn’t really have a baseline to establish what kind of return we were getting from our projects. We made a decision in the Logistics group to establish a monitoring program to sustain the reductions we were able to get. We went out for bid about three years ago for that program: The first stage was monitoring, and the second stage was optimization.

We’ve established the baseline now and have gone back and compared to internal numbers. In the original program, we had targeted a 5 percent per year reduction. Though we didn’t get anywhere, we wanted to continue trying to do better. We thought we might do a facility optimization program combined with capital projects through audits done in 2004 and others more recently. We set some overall reduction goal for each site based on that information, and we’re tracking that data going forward.

 

SENSEI: What challenges and barriers have you faced along the way? What have you learned?

BH: Behavioral and training is the biggest challenge—getting people to shut doors between refrigerated spaces all the way and turning off lights on docks and rooms. Also, making sure that when we start doing a review, we get the buy-in of the upper management at the site and operations manager. When we show them how they can get involved and how they’ll get the support and tools they need, like the energy monitoring program, they can see the results.

 

SENSEI: Why is tracking operations and maintenance (O&M) activities important to your overall energy goals? And how does SENSEI help?

BH: We’ve found that the way equipment is being operated is not energy efficient. Specific pieces like valves and pumps aren’t working or aren’t 100%—they need maintenance. If they’re maintained, we can have greater efficiency at lower cost. Having a tool where we can see what’s being done and where the site folks who are implementing changes can see what they need to do next is very important. We can look at how complex each project is and maximize savings up front by knocking out the simpler tasks first.

 

SENSEI: What’s your method for knocking out these O&M improvements with SENSEI?

BH: We come up with the list of action items while we’re at each site and help them with a few to ensure buy-in. Then, later we’ll send a long list to the site. By using SENSEI, we’re not just able to give them a snapshot, but we can also categorize them by how difficult they’ll be to complete and also by the energy impact they will have. So we can look at cost, the efficiency benefit, and the length of the project. After we set deadlines for about half of action items up front, we do a conference call with everyone involved about a week after the walk-through. We break out the tasks that are easier to complete, as well as those that will have the greatest impact.

 

SENSEI: Do you think the SENSEI Action Item tracking helps with building momentum and buy-in?

BH: It really helps, also with accountability. It’s hard to get things implemented without accountability. In SENSEI, everyone can see the deadlines for upcoming projects. The facility staff and I can be on a call together and make notes in the task list. In some instances, we might want to change it on the fly with the site person and the engineer talking about the task over the phone.

 

SENSEI: Kroger has worked with Cascade Energy for some time. What has made that partnership so successful?

BH: The savings from the first few optimizations with Kroger were huge, but there was no follow up or sustainability program, which we were aware of. So we came back to Cascade, who was in the process of building that same kind of sustainability program for another customer. And we knew we were going to get results. Cascade has been really willing to adapt and put together some programs like SENSEI and custom changes to reporting that Kroger wanted.

Ben E. Keith Case Study

Compare Performance Periods Side-by-Side with SENSEI

Q&A with Ben E. Keith Amarillo’s Kavan Yarber, Facility Manager, and Scott Markham, Refrigeration Technician (plus, resident computer guru)

 

SENSEI: How long have you been trying to roll back the meter to save energy at your facility? What have you accomplished so far?

Kavan Yarber: We started an energy program with Cascade Energy in 2009. We’ve reduced our energy usage quite a bit. Our baseline was 2.5 million kilowatt-hours; now we’re at about 1.5 million kilowatt-hours, so that’s a 39% change. We’re continually dropping our energy intensity by adding LEDs and a new control system for refrigeration, which helps us a bunch.

 

SENSEI: Why does Ben E. Keith pursue energy efficiency as a corporate strategy?

KY: We’re looking to save energy, and also save money. Our electrical bill went down from $70,000 a month to $39,000. That’s a lot of money. And when you do that for six branches, it amounts to a lot of savings. The company as a whole is down 27.6%. It makes sense to save money and reduce our carbon footprint. We’re still looking every day at what we can do to reduce electrical, refrigeration, lighting usage.

 

SENSEI: How do you think SENSEI will help you achieve your energy reduction goals?

KY: By monitoring it, we’ll be able to view impact of the energy improvements we’re making. Without monitoring, we can’t see the effect of those changes. In the future, we’re going to be able to view some of the other corporate location’s logs, and see what they did to improve performance. I think that will be a great feature. We’ll be able to see other branches’ action items and how those items affected the energy use of that location. That will help us a lot.

 

SENSEI: Scott, what features in SENSEI have been most valuable to you?

Scott Markham: The comparison of data week-to-week and month-to-month [data overlay] can tell me whether a change has helped or hurt energy performance. With that intelligence, I can keep making adjustments to help lower energy use.

 

SENSEI: How does SENSEI compare to the other energy management software you’ve used?

SM: SENSEI is a lot more user friendly. It also displays information much faster and more clearly than others. And now that my saved views on the dashboard are set up, I just log in to look at what I need to see.

 

SENSEI: I have one more question for Kavan: You’ve worked with Cascade now for a few years. What is it about the partnership that you’ve had as a facility manager with Cascade that’s made your energy program successful?

KY: They’ve been a great help. It’s nice to get a second set of eyes to come in and see a little bit more than what I usually see. Any advice they give, we all go over it and look at implementing it.

Energy Enlightenment in 3 Steps

  1. Establish Performance

    Creating a baseline for true performance helps you learn where you consume energy and what factors drive consumption. SENSEI service offerings help you build an energy profile and information system, so you get accurate, up-to-the-minute energy info controlled for seasonality, production levels, facility activities, and more.

  2. Drive Action

    Encouraging staff to stay engaged in energy efficiency ensures you can maximize return on equipment investments and continuously add savings to the bottom line. SENSEI connects actions to energy performance to help your staff know which measures work and which don’t—so you can focus time and money on the right projects.

  3. Track Savings

    Gauging the real-time effectiveness of your energy efficiency efforts provides not only flexibility but also a way to financially justify additional measures and quantify your progress toward cost-reduction goals. With SENSEI, you can manage your energy efficiency program and see the impact of specific measures with point-in-time accuracy.