SPONSORED CONTENT BY: EcoEnergy Insights
Global greenhouse gas emissions are at their highest-ever level, pushing the world towards unprecedented levels of climate warming, according to new research, says the World Economic Forum. Buildings contribute as much as one-third of the total global greenhouse gas emissions; about 40% of energy usage, producing 40% of total carbon dioxide emissions. Finding ways to be more energy efficient has become essential for many business strategies to improve both sustainability and overall operations. Many organizations search for the right platforms to help them capitalize on those goals.
EcoEnergy Insights, a Carrier company, is a leading provider of AI and IoT-enabled solutions to digitally transform building and equipment operations. The company’s partnership with JoAnn, a chain of retail stores in North America, unlocked much of that potential. JoAnn used the award-winning solutions, the CORTIX platform, and the BluEdge Command Centers to transform their store operations.
In 2022, the partnership helped JoAnn’s more than 700 stores save more than $2.1 million in energy costs, equivalent to 11,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide.
This engagement helped EcoEnergy Insights win Top Project recognition in the Environment+Energy Leader Awards 2023.
Transforming Store Operations
Automation is increasingly seen as a means to improve energy efficiency. EcoEnergy Insights used the CORTIX platform to provide predictive insights and recommendations to help JoAnn with effective store operations and maintenance.
The platform is what EcoEnergy Insights calls technology-agnostic. It not only provides predictive insights and recommendations but also learns and recognizes patterns in equipment behavior. It also identifies performance trends and brings in non-IoT data, like the local weather, to predict the performance of the equipment. In many cases, valuable insights from the platform allow building management teams to proactively take corrective actions and avoid downtime.
“CORTIX is pretty cool – it can connect, control, and provide insights on 24 categories of connected equipment typically found in buildings,” says, Rajender Singh Beniwal, North America General Manager, EcoEnergy Insights. “So, we make sure everything runs efficiently and is well taken care of.”
The platform is currently connected to over 300,000 pieces of building equipment from multiple original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including refrigeration cases and racks, controllers, lighting systems, and rooftop units. The platform learns from the vast set of connected equipment and past corrective actions to provide appropriate recommendations to fix issues
“The BluEdge Command Centers combine people skills, digital innovation, and processes to give building and equipment operations a major transformation”, says Beniwal.
“We dive into data from connected equipment and building management systems, and with the help of the insights from the platform, we proactively take action remotely or collaborate with retailers and maintenance partners,” says Beniwal. “We apply the systems thinking approach which helps us think about the big picture, solving problems with subject matter experts, information technology expertise, and data analytics. We try finding remote solutions to keep field dispatches to a minimum, saving costs and reducing emissions along the way.”
Through this, EcoEnergy Insights significantly reduced the need for on-site work at JoAnn to keep their store operations running smoothly. Around 80% of work orders in 2022 were done through remote actions.
JoAnn’s Sustainable Growth Shows with the Project’s Success
“It is all part of JoAnn’s goal of improving its sustainability, including growing environmental, social, and government (ESG) strategies. We have set strong targets in these areas and aligning with EcoEnergy Insights has helped make improvements,” says David Geibel, JoAnn’s manager of store facilities and energy.
JoAnn sought to strategically develop and manage enterprise utility usage through continuous monitoring. It also wanted to drive enhanced compliance through ESG growth while reducing consumption. This included developing temperature, lighting, and humidity standards for the company’s operations while remotely ensuring the performance of units.
The outcomes of those actions can have benefits across the board.
“The customer and associate experience improves, while the number of ‘hot-cold’ complaints reduce and first-time Internet Service Provider (ISP) responses improve, resulting in proactive, planned energy cost reduction,” he says.
“JoAnn’s EVERGREEN strategy calls for the company to be a better corporate citizen tomorrow than it is today. Moving forward through 2023 and beyond our plans to focus on responsible consumption, alternative and renewable energy, and technology enhancements,” Geibel says.
Some of those targets include enhanced store-based heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) demand management and maximized store open-close scheduling, greater utility bill auditing), and technology enhancements — refined energy management system (EMS) system specs-procurement, focused store-based saving solutions.
EcoEnergy Insights Continues to Advance Sustainability
Reducing emissions is an overall goal in the retail industry and one that EcoEnergy Insights seeks to help address. As of 2023, the company has surpassed more than 5 billion kilowatt hours of energy savings for its customers worldwide, which is equivalent to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from more than 788,500 gas-powered passenger vehicles driven for one year.
The company also offers a comprehensive maintenance management solution that includes scheduling preventive maintenance tasks, tracking equipment performance, and coordinating with maintenance teams. That of course comes with the focus on remotely resolving issues as much as possible, coordinating field dispatches only when necessary, and enabling first-time fixes and combined work orders. The reduced number of dispatches thereby reduces operations costs and associated GHG emissions.
All of this work has helped a company like JoAnn with remarkable energy savings and improved efficiency across its operations.
“The program is a key part in enabling us to move towards achieving our sustainability goals,” Geibel said as part of the E+E Leader award announcement. “It has provided us with energy optimization opportunities and aids, along with corporate initiatives, to reduce our carbon footprint. It’s great that this engagement contributes to larger environmental improvement opportunities, and we’re pleased that it continues to grow in its value.”