Improving energy efficiency not only provides environmental benefits, it can be a major cost savings tool for property managers. Being able to detect exactly where power is wasted is a huge asset; however, the solutions to uncover that data can be costly or time-consuming to deploy.
That was the impetus behind the creation of the Power Patch—the first stick-on electrical sub-meter, says Xander Snyder, CFO of Persistent Efficiency. The manufacturer, founded last year, developed the device to provide a solution for property owners who want more visibility into their energy usage, but are put off by the upfront investment of traditional sub-metering.
“It’s hard to go to a property manager and say, ‘We’re going to save you all this money and find efficiency opportunities: the first thing you need to do is spend $7,000 and hire several certified electricians for a full day of activity,” Snyder says. “It’s just not a good sell. Our product fixes that problem.”
Unlike other products, Snyder explains, the Power Patch can be easily and safely installed directly onto the circuit breaker by the end-user. Once the device is in place, it can detect electric current and voltage information to determine the system’s power factor and provide specific data, Snyder explains.
“Essentially, the power factor is a way of fingerprinting different appliances or equipment on a single circuit breaker,” he says. “By recovering both current and voltage wave forms, we can essentially do disaggregation on a circuit breaker level.”
Power Patch allows property owners to view highly granular data, targeting exactly where energy is being wasted. Users can drill down to specifics about energy consumption for a particular area or for their entire building.
In addition to revealing inefficient energy-consumption habits, data collected by the Power Patch can also help identify if equipment is malfunctioning or operating inefficiently, potentially indicating a need for preventive maintenance. The ability to detect potential equipment failure before replacement is necessary provides another avenue of cost savings.
Currently, the product is in beta mode, Snyder says. Power Patch has been installed at one commercial site in Chicago for over six months, and was recently installed at two more locations. Feedback at the first site has been very positive so far, he adds; the company has expanded their order and upgraded to the newest version of the sensor.
Going forward, Persistent Efficiency is seeking additional operator and strategic partners to bring the product to market. “That’s kind of how we’re looking at 2015 in terms of getting to market and piloting. By early 2016, we plan to have a broader market-ready product ready for wider scale distribution,” Snyder says.