Case Study: Retail Energy Management Software (multi-site)
Bisagni Environmental Enterprise (BEE), founded in 2009, is a sustainability-focused engineering consultancy, sourcing and technology company specialising in the creation of green buildings. The company began its partnership with Wattics in 2016 when it was contracted by a world-renowned fashion house to install a robust energy management solution for all of its brand divisions, stores and offices spread across 120 locations in Asia Pacific (APAC).
The partnership marked BEE’s foray into energy management as well as its introduction to advanced metering systems – the latter being a prerequisite for acquiring the credits necessary to achieve Gold LEED status in the fourth iteration of the USGBC’s green building rating system, which emphasises the need for continuous monitoring and improvement in order to remain compliant.
The Wattics solution is proving to be instrumental for LEED consultants like BEE earn points toward achieving LEED v4 certification through the deployment of advanced metering and monitoring-based commissioning, for which the energy management platform, with its machine learning capability, is a key enabler.
An integrated approach to sustainability and holistic occupant wellness
BEE had already been monitoring indoor air quality, as well as other metrics that promote sustainability in buildings and the wellness of its occupants through its very own software platform, QLEAR, developed by the company’s Founder and Managing Director, Alessandro Bisagni. The project with the global fashion house prompted Bisagni to seek out a partner with the necessary energy metering, monitoring and analysis capabilities to meet the requirements of his client – for which he approached Wattics.
The fully white-labelled energy management platform could be easily integrated with BEE’s intelligent building management platform, reducing time-to-market and implementation. Furthermore, BEE could offer its client a proven system to deploy as its own, while leaving development and maintenance of the energy management component to Wattics.
Armed with its expertise in intelligent building management and leveraging its partnership with Wattics, BEE was ready to begin preparing for the rollout of an energy management solution for its client, aided by its test bed in Shanghai, China, where the engineering consultancy also has its headquarters.
“The first step was to create a questionnaire to determine the hardware requirements for each store location,” said Bisagni.
“Before we started this project, we needed to know how many meters we needed, and a simple question like this proved to be the most difficult part of the process, because a company this fragmented with all these different locations and many stakeholders, didn’t know how many distribution boards they had, so they didn’t know what it was that they had to meter.”
Once BEE received and verified the information they needed to ship the hardware, Bisagni and his team began creating the necessary materials for installation including an instructional video and step-by-step guide in the appropriate language. BEE chose Wattics not only for its software offering but also for its ability to provide a turnkey hardware and software solution.
Wattics provided over 200 pre-configured, plug and play meters, which were connected to its hardware agnostic, energy management platform.
With the metering systems installed and the platform receiving data, BEE could begin creating energy alerts for each site to be notified as soon as cost or consumption deviated from an expected pattern or pre-determined KPI – a particularly useful tool in the afforded through the Wattics dashboard for goal-setting, waste monitoring and failure detection.
“The fact that we can go to Wattics for a single, one-stop-shop solution for hardware, software and support saved our team a lot of time and allows us to increase margins and focus on getting more projects”
— Alessandro Bisagni, Founder & Managing Director, Bisagni Environmental Enterprise (BEE)
Benchmarking & LEED performance
Having the ability to receive and normalise meter data from multiple project sites in the same geography and of similar size, BEE was able to create a benchmark – a benchmark specific to the fashion retailer’s business – for energy use across all of its stores. Furthermore, with the data received, BEE was able to determine whether the LEED projects were actually performing better than the non-LEED projects.
“By comparing stores in the same geography and of similar size, we are able to see which stores are performing well and those that are performing poorly. In the case of a poorly performing store/site, having this data and being going back to my client and say, ‘you have a problem in this store and it should really not be performing like this, let’s try and investigate why’ is invaluable. The benefit to the client is really win-win,” said Bisagni.
One such example was a LEED-certified, flagship store located in Shanghai which demonstrated poor air quality primarily due to a renovation that increased Total Volatile Organic Compound (TVOC) levels. A decision was taken to run the HVAC system 24/7, which significantly improved air quality conditions. BEE could immediately run an analysis using the activity tracker and operations analyser tool in the dashboard to create a ‘what if’ scenario and evaluate the viability of running the HVAC 24hrs a day in terms of kWh and cost.
“Because we had energy metering and the complementary analysis tools at our disposal, we were able to tell [the client] exactly how much extra this [running the HVAC 24hrs] was costing. This was obviously not something we wanted to do long-term, so when the renovation work was finished, we went back to regular practice and we saw that the air quality levels were maintained. So the issue really was the renovation and so, we were able to prove from a cost perspective how implementing this action made sense.”
Furthermore, BEE used the activity maps in the Wattics dashboard to find that the store was occupied at night, and discovered that the cleaning staff on duty were using unapproved cleaning products, which was directly related to the spikes in TVOC levels in the space at night.
✓ Revenue increase from software (March ’16 – March ‘17): 150%
✓ Growth in customer base (March ’16 – March ‘17): 150%
✓ Largest deal closed as a result of partnership with Wattics: €200,000
✓ SaaS revenue due to resell (March ‘16 to March ‘18): €320,000
Since the start of its partnership with Wattics, BEE has expanded its energy management services to 18 countries over 200 projects. With six regional offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Italy and more recently, India, BEE will continue to grow its global footprint over the coming years. The company already has an established presence in the US, Canada and Asia Pacific, and has plans to expand further into the Middle East and Africa, with South America being included in its geographical roadmap for 2019.
In an effort to continually solve the challenges of its customers, Bisagni said: “I’m looking to go to what’s next, what is the next big thing and I want to try and marry together all of the great accomplishments that we’ve done with energy metering and LEED certification.”
Bisagni Environmental Enterprise, a sustainability engineering consulting and technology company specializing in the creation of green and healthy buildings. BEE is a GBCI recognized LEED Proven Provider and part of USGBC’s LEED User Group for Retail. The company specializes in building simulations, commissioning, green building certification (LEED / WELL / RESET / LBC / HK BEAM / China 3-Star), and cloud-based building data management for ensuring ongoing performance. Alessandro has managed over 200 LEED projects, across 25 countries, with a combined GFA of over 30 million square feet.
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