August 30, 2009
How does the technology work and what are the benefits?
Powerit Solutions’ Spara EMS is an integrated hardware and software product that automatically adjusts energy usage throughout a facility for maximum savings and efficiency.
The Spara system incorporates our industry knowledge, along with the user’s knowledge of their facility, to create rules for adjusting energy use without disrupting production and quality or human comfort. That means the temperature won’t be turned up to 95 degrees to save energy, nor will output be reduced.
These smart, automated adjustments let food and beverage manufacturers control their energy demand so that they can avoid high peak-rate charges, participate in utility demand response programs that pay them for reducing energy use when the grid is under stress, and increase energy efficiency throughout their facilities (Spara EMS integrates with existing automation systems).
Users get rapid ROI – we aim for 18 months or less – and it’s significant. One of our food industry clients, Anchor Warehouse Systems in California’s Central Valley, got immediate ROI by participating in the utility’s demand response program and saw a 17 percent decrease in their monthly bill while increasing production 15 percent. They also reduced their peak energy demand 35 percent. This not only saves money, it also allows them to contribute to sustainability efforts by helping to reduce the need for new power plants.
How have you been able to merge commerce with sustainable business practices?
Despite growing awareness and adoption of green practices, for most organizations the top priority remains the bottom line. Profit – whether through increased revenues or reduction in costs – is still the primary focus. Sustainable practices will most likely be implemented through the use of a stick (rising costs, penalties, and other disincentives) or a carrot (cost savings, revenue generation, or the creation of other efficiencies that bolster bottom-line performance).
Powerit Solutions provides a carrot in the form of technology that increases sustainability while generating positive bottom-line results – without negatively impacting operations. Oftentimes saving in one area requires giving something up somewhere else. That’s not the case with Powerit's Spara system; it’s a win-win.
What are the challenges of applying this technology to the food and beverage industry?
Food and beverage makers have highly complex, often proprietary processes, which many manufacturers believe can’t be altered. Production facilities can be sprawling, making system installations complicated, time-consuming, and expensive. And these are businesses with very little tolerance for error. For instance, fresh-picked garlic can withstand no more than a sudden half-degree temperature change or it will be ruined.
We understand the equipment, processes, and challenges that manufacturers face. Our system combines sophisticated control technology with the client’s own “rules” to create results that are tailored to and defined by the client, protecting their unique processes and achieving their specific goals. We also make use of wireless technology and other advancements to achieve effective and efficient installations.
How do you help organizations “do well by doing good?”
By implementing Powerit’s Spara system, manufacturers will realize real cost savings and potentially even generate revenue. We’ve found with some clients that after having success with the Spara system the energy efficiency bug sweeps through the organization becoming part of corporate policy and not just a one-off project. Implementing the system can lead to efficiencies in lighting, recycling, waste-water management, and a host of other green activities. It can even spread to other facilities within the organization.
What can retailers learn from your success?
Retailers have the same priorities – and challenges – as manufacturers. They need to manage costs to remain competitive and, like everyone, they face rising energy costs. By focusing on practices like energy efficiency, demand response, and demand control, and taking advantage of real-time energy pricing, they can reduce their costs without impacting operations.
In upcoming issues, we will feature interviews with companies that are taking innovative steps toward the creation of sustainable products and services. If you are interested in telling us more about what your company is doing please contact Allison Bloom at firstname.lastname@example.org.