$1.1M in Utility Cost Avoidance with Data From Ecova
ENERGY DASHBOARD AND OUTLIER INVESTIGATION LEAD TO QUICK PROBLEM RESOLUTION AND DRIVE CONSUMPTION IMPROVEMENT
G6 Hospitality is the management company that operates more than 1,100 Motel 6 and Studio 6 properties across North America. With 10,000 employees ranging from property managers to housekeeping staff spread across those sites, the management of energy consumption must be a grassroots effort. Every employee’s actions—or inactions—have a direct impact on utilities consumption. Renee Swoger, Director of Capital Administration and Sustainability at G6 Hospitality, sought a program that would make energy management a central part of every employee’s job. To do this, G6 Hospitality turned to Ecova, a partner with a proven track record.
“Our partnership with Ecova began with the auditing and payment of our utility expenses, as well as budget and financial management,” says Swoger. “Ecova receives the bills for our 600 corporate locations, audits, pays and logs expense and consumption data into their online reporting platform.”
“More recently, we wanted to provide each of our properties with a usage tracking tool to drive performance improvement,” says Swoger. While this sounds simple enough, making site-to-site comparisons in the geographically distributed hospitality business is complicated. Variables such as weather and occupancy have a profound impact on day-to-day energy consumption from one property to the next.
ENERGY DASHBOARD CREATES INCENTIVE TO SAVE
When G6 Hospitality approached Ecova with the need for a property-level energy consumption reporting tool, the information housed in the Ecova Platform proved foundational. “Beyond the monthly utility costs hitting their budget, our property managers had no visibility into actual cost drivers or consumption for their locations,” says Swoger. “Of course, they have no control over the price they are paying, but they do have a degree of control over their own utilities consumption. How could we expect them to manage these costs if they didn’t have the metrics to do so?”
G6 Hospitality rolled out its energy dashboard to each property to provide this visibility into monthly site-level consumption performance. This dashboard is distributed to all properties and presents performance in the form of simple gauges that let managers know whether they’re in the red (over) or green (under) for each utility. Swoger says that, in part because of its simple yet powerful interface, the Ecova Energy Dashboard has become the most widely-used technology tool in the field.
“The baseline methodology we created is sophisticated, taking historical consumption, occupancy, and heating degree/ cooling degree days into account. But, for property managers and staff, it results in a very simple, standardized report on energy consumption.”
The dashboard is also equipped with a troubleshooting application. In the event a site is over-consuming compared to baseline expectations, the property manager or maintenance supervisor is equipped with a checklist of utility-specific potential problem areas to investigate in an effort to mitigate the problem. “The dashboard is more than just a display; the troubleshooting tool reinforces our constant communication of best practices to reduce consumption,” says Swoger.
SEVEN-FIGURE SAVINGS IN OUTLIER INVESTIGATION
In 2010, G6 Hospitality and Ecova worked to develop another custom program built on the Ecova Outlier Investigation tool. Dubbed “utility escalation reporting” by G6 Hospitality, the tool monitors utility consumption at all locations, creating an alert and detailed reporting when anomalies occur. In similar fashion to the dashboard solution, the exception reporting tool uses sophisticated algorithms that apply weather (heating/cooling degree days) and occupancy data to differentiate actual red flags from normal spikes in demand.
“When an unexplained spike in consumption is detected, Ecova creates an alert and notifies the appropriate personnel at G6 Hospitality,” says Swoger. “Property managers, corporate, and field engineering staff are all copied on the alert, which includes graphs that illustrate such detail as when the spike in consumption occurred and how much it has cost the company per day.” When field-level managers receive the exception report, they also receive a troubleshooting checklist that helps them isolate and resolve the issue.
“When an anomaly is detected, the property manager generally has a window of two days to respond. Ecova houses all of the data, including a log of all responses from and actions taken by the operations team, at an online platform, all the while continuing to track the cost of the anomaly,” explains Swoger. A weekly report from Ecova keeps Swoger and other key G6 Hospitality executives apprised of the resolution status and ongoing cost of all open leaks in field.
Just over one year after the Outlier Investigation process was implemented, Ecova has detected and helped G6 Hospitality resolve 619 water and gas leaks.
“Ecova can identify a leak an average of 90 days before we can,” says Swoger. Based on average utility costs and consumption data, quick leak resolution has resulted in cost avoidance of about $1.1 million to date.
“Because Ecova has such deep historical utility cost and consumption data at the property level, they’re uniquely positioned to serve as our first line of defense against anomalies and waste,” says Swoger.