How to Convince Clients to Go Green
Energy and power management systems make some in-roads, but remain marred by political back-channel discussions and requirements.

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December 18, 2012 By D. Craig MacCormack

While the resistance to so-called green A/V and smart energy management remains rooted in the up-front cash layout for many end users, some systems integration industry insiders say a smart energy management plan can trim up to 40 percent off a customer’s utility bills.

“A good energy management control system can easily save $600 to $1,000 per year, per system,” says Chris Maione, managing partner at Chris Maione Associates. As impressive as that sounds off the top, that might be a conservative estimate.

Shannon Townley, president of SurgeX and Energy Intelligence Solution Sales, says smart energy management solutions are scalable, so the savings are determined in some ways by the user.

“A business can start by simply setting a schedule to power down printers and other non-essential electronics when the office is empty for the night to avoid phantom power consumption,” he says. “This will provide savings of a few hundred to thousand dollars a year, depending on the office size. Unseen savings are also earned through better protection from surges, outages and other anomalies that can reduce the lifespan of a connected product or system.”

Projections and predictions of cost savings are, of course, rooted in using the system as it’s intended, says Gary Matthews, director of business development and systems engineer at Audio Video Interiors of Middleburg Heights, Ohio. Also, it’s important to look at the total picture and not expect to see a net savings in a month or a year.

“A properly implemented EMS and/or energy management plan, once it is implemented, should start generating savings in energy usage and cost immediately,” he says. “Most EMS or management plans generally yield 20 to 40 percent savings immediately in overall energy use. As stated, though, these savings will come with a cost, and that cost has to be balanced against the savings, again to realize an ROI within five years.

“Savings and ROI can be greatly influenced by rebates, tax incentives, government grants and the like. A business should strongly consider working with a energy management consultant - LEED certification is recommended - and an A/V systems integrator who can provide effective systems that meet your individual business needs and energy-reduction goals while taking advantage of the many incentives that are available,” says Matthews.

Click here to check out energy-saving apps that will help you design more economical solutions for clients.

Mark Bishop, president at Lyntec, says an energy management plan can definitely have a big effect on the bottom line.

“Obviously, it depends on the building, but generally we expect clients to realize a 30 to 40 percent savings in their annual utility bills,” he says. “In addition, savings go far beyond just the energy costs. Additional savings are realized by lowering equipment repair and replacement costs, lamp costs, etc.”

Managing Energy Remotely

With everyone on the go and hooked on mobile devices these days, it’s crucial for companies that offer energy management solutions to have remote capabilities.

“Remote power management also allows a piece of equipment and/or system to connect to the ‘outside world,’” says Maione. “So, in addition to remote monitoring from your smartphone or any web browser, you can connect to other systems. That’s all part of a smart building strategy.”

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About the author

Craig MacCormack is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience covering local and national news and sports as well as architecture and engineering before moving into his current role. He joined Commercial Integrator in January 2011. Follow him on Twitter: @CraigMacCormack.
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