Preparing for Volatile Energy Prices

Even though it’s midsummer, many US-based businesses are still recovering from the budget impact of last winter’s energy prices. It’s tempting to attribute last winter’s energy price volatility to anomalous, extreme weather and proceed with business as usual. That’s a risky strategy. The winter of 2013-2014 offers valuable lessons for future winters, even if the fall chill still seems far off. The lessons of last winter   The weather made headlines last winter, for good reason. Major parts of the country experienced excessive snow and cold, and winter lasted much longer than usual in many parts of the country. But if you look closely, the weather wasn’t uniformly cold. On parts of the Eastern seaboard, the cold was unusual but not extreme – perhaps a once-a-decade pattern of cold. In...

National Accounts Programs Redefined: Closing the Participation Gap

It’s no secret that ROI is a big motivator for utility national account customers when it comes to participating in energy efficiency programs. The benefits are evident, yet program participation rates often lag. With energy efficiency recognized as a proven method for increasing ROI for national accounts, it’s time to address the long-standing participation gap. UNDERSTANDING THE NATIONAL ACCOUNT PERSPECTIVE As defined by Edison Electric Institute (EEI), a national account is a multi-site company with centralized decision-making. To understand the reasons for low national account participation in utility incentive programs, put yourself in the position of an energy manager for a national account with 500 facilities across 20 states and 30 utilities chartered with reducing energy costs...

Tip of the Hat to Arby’s® Efficiency Matters Program


When you see an Arby’s restaurant you probably think of roast beef or maybe even Pharrell’s hat! However, what you probably don’t think about is energy efficiency―but you should. By implementing a variety of efficiency measures and behavior-based changes in 2013, I’m happy to share that we reduced our energy consumption by 7.6 percent.  Arby’s road to savings started in 2009 when we partnered with Ecova on its expense and data management solution. With several years of good data, in 2012 we expanded our partnership with Ecova by undertaking a strategic energy planning process, which led to the development of Arby’s Efficiency Matters program and the implementation of a variety of initiatives to reduce both our energy and water use. In 2013, our initiatives included interior and exterior...

The Great Fork Over: Ecova Employees Support Portland Elementary School’s Conservation Efforts

In a typical school year, a single student will use approximately 170 plastic utensils to eat his or her school lunch. For Peninsula K-8 Public School’s 370 students, this adds up to over 6,000 plastic utensils used and thrown out each school year! In an effort to manage the waste and expense of disposable utensils, a group of teachers at the school started an initiative to replace disposable utensils with reusable silverware donated from the community. For the last couple of years, the teachers have coordinated the procurement and the washing and replacement of the forks and spoons. They have also used the project to help educate the students about conservation topics, including waste reduction and recycling. Ryan Brown, our Sr. Graphic and Web Designer and a member of Ecova’s Impact...

Leveraging Data in Today’s Evolving Waste Landscape

America’s waste landscape is a moving target. In the midst of ever changing regional recycling collection laws, evolving solid waste legislation, and emerging municipal waste fees and new mandates, facility directors can have difficulty just figuring out where to begin when tasked with the challenge of managing waste expenses across a large portfolio. Combine that data with uncertainity, or the lack of data, and managers are faced with even a larger hurdle. Given that waste invoices may not always include specific details of on-site waste services, it can make knowing “what you’re paying for” difficult. Here’s where the Ecova Waste Solutions team comes in. Our group of industry professionals knows that our strength lies in our data, and we’ve been working hard to enhance our systems and...