Commercial FAQ

For how long should the monitors be placed in a building?

7-10 days

Do I need to connect to the building’s network or automation system?

No, the system has its own cellular gateway that connects to BuildingAdvice’s data center.

Do we need to involve the utilities to do some of the energy services mentioned?

You will probably need to work with them to acquire utility bills, but should not need their involvement beyond that. However, in some situations, utilities may offer rebates for energy efficiency efforts, in which case you might need to coordinate with them.

Should we guarantee energy savings?

This is up to individual service providers. We prefer using language that distinguishes what you are doing from outright performance contracts (the ESCO model.) Many of our customers tell their clients that they will stand behind a prediction of at least 10% savings.

This seems to apply mostly to large commercial buildings. We do a lot of light commercial. How does this apply to this arena?

The ROI for large-scale, ASHRAE level 3 audits in smaller buildings is usually lower because the payback may not justify the price of this traditional audit. BuildingAdvice, on the other hand, works very well in these small to mid-sized buildings. By automating many aspects of the energy assessment process and focusing on the low- and no-cost savings opportunities and the largest energy-consuming systems in buildings, the BuildingAdvice system is able to help achieve a high ROI in small and mid-sized buildings.

Do we need energy engineers to do this?

No, BuildingAdvice presents the measurements and inputs in a way that most of our customers are able to understand. Non-engineers usually have no trouble understanding the process, analyzing the results, and interpreting energy savings back to their clients. Plus, the building energy experts on the BuildingAdvice staff are available for help.

What is an energy service agreement?

An energy service agreement is an energy “maintenance” contract between a contractor and their building-owner customer that not only includes the standard preventive maintenance agreement items, but also establishes an ongoing process for the reduction of energy costs. By having a professional responsible for maintaining those savings, it also ensures that the implemented measures will continue to have the specified energy savings.  We recommend replacing standard preventive maintenance agreements with energy service agreements.

How much more do energy service agreements usually cost over standard ones?

This is up to service providers and their clients, and would depend on size and condition of the building as well as other factors, but customers of ours typically charge 3% of the building’s annual energy spend as a price premium for energy service agreements. The price premium for the agreement is almost always outweighed by the cost savings that come as a result of the additional services and the focus on energy.

What is the significance of carbon footprint?

Carbon footprint, a measure of the estimated emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from a set of activities, is becoming increasingly significant to businesses (and individuals) who have corporate sustainability initiatives, goals to go green, or carbon emission caps on their manufacturing processes. If/when a carbon credit cap and trade system develops, carbon footprint will matter even more as carbon credits will become an asset that businesses will be able to sell at a premium to other, non-complying businesses.

How does this apply with light industrial clients?

This applies well for light industrial clients who would be able to combine service contracts and save money overall. It makes sense for the company supplying and maintaining your equipment to be the ones that, while inside an air handler, for example, also change filters, check schedules, clean coils, etc. to maximize energy savings as well.