Newcomers make energy their businessA 10-person St. Paul-based company named EnergyPrint announced last Wednesday, Oct.5, its plan to open a River Falls office by Dec. 1 at the latest, on the second floor of the red brick building at 186 County Road U.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
A 10-person St. Paul-based company named EnergyPrint announced last Wednesday, Oct.5, its plan to open a River Falls office by Dec. 1 at the latest, on the second floor of the red brick building at 186 County Road U.
The business provides online a software-as-a-service (SaaS) energy-management application for all types of professionals who deal with commercial property.
EnergyPrint’s clients usually include the people charged with managing the energy cost, consumption and carbon footprint of a building or series of buildings.
Company Chairman and co-founder Jerry Larson told the small crowd gathered in a public meeting room at City Hall that society measures practically everything -- that “to measure is to know.”
“There’s a big hole in what we measure,” he said, “our buildings.”
Larson explained that big structures are huge energy consumers, which most of the time people don’t see. He said the business makes that energy visible via simple metrics.
Users of the business’ cloud-based software only need Internet access on a computer, smart phone or iPad to see the relevant data, according to Larson.
EnergyPrint’s President and CEO Priscilla Koeckeritz said the company’s goal was to come here and expand, possibly to 50 employees over a few years’ time. She said that would depend on how fast the company grew.
The business has secured funding from regional tech funds but also seeks capital investors both locally and regionally. Management predicts it will grow rapidly because it provides a common-sense solution.
Koeckeritz said the goal was to be ready for new customers, who may include maintenance people, real estate professionals, property owners, building managers, management executives -- all of whom can receive the building data.
Koeckeritz pointed out that billions are spent on energy consumption and that of all the costs associated with managing a property, energy costs always increase.
“Energy now is about 20% of the operating costs of building,” she said.
She mentioned the growing number of mandates and compliance requirements for benchmarking buildings, which normally entails measuring their energy and finding ways to reduce consumption. The business is working in about 30 states establishing benchmarks for buildings.
“Energy management is a business problem that we can solve,” she said.
She said the business serves clients by helping them answer four main questions: How is the building doing? Is it getting better or worse? Where are opportunities? How do we prove that past investments paid off?
Generally described, the company goes to a customer’s building, gathers data on it and all the utilities coming into it then produces analytics about its performance. EnergyPrint helps people interpret everything on their utility bills, too.
Vice President of Enterprise Operations and Innovation Mike Williams will be in the River Falls office.
“We gather about 1,500 points of data per building per year,” Williams said.
He and Larson and Koeckeritz emphasize that data integrity is ultra-important. EnergyPrint begins by gathering about 18 months of utility history -- including water, gas, electricity and other -- in order to understand a building.
Williams said the business takes data and translates it into language that everyday people can understand. Koeckeritz interjected that they seek feedback from customers about the metrics, often asking, “Is this (data) simple enough?”
A handout listed key features of the software: Energy dashboard, reporting, benchmarking, alerts and forecasting and budgeting; as well as utility-data management; historical trending; change capture; weather normalization; and Energy Star® integration.
Koeckeritz also said EnergyPrint recognizes that a building has life cycles and can provide data to help during each stage. And though the company doesn’t itself provide the solutions, it partners with businesses that do.
EnergyPrint’s River Falls office will also house a relationship manager and many data-input specialists -- part-times jobs that will be good for college students or stay-at-home parents. The specialists train for data entry and for translating utility information. The data is also verified before it’s used.
Williams predicts the company will grow quickly, maybe even bigger than the St. Paul headquarters.
The representatives said last week that EnergyPrint seeks to hire the relationship manager immediately.
Koeckeritz answered questions posed from the audience, like “Is the service for residential customers, too?”
It could be she said, but mostly it serves clients in commercial buildings since they have much energy bigger costs and are willing to spend the $86 per month to track them.
Asked about EnergyPrint’s competitors, she answered that all of theirs rolled into one don’t even equal 1% of the market share. One company in New York provides a similar service but is focused on multi-family properties.
The partners say awareness is growing and they expect to become very busy in the next few years. Their goal for the end of 2011 was have 1,400 buildings in the database.
Learn more about the company at its website: www.energyprint.com.