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Combine continually rising costs with multiple locations and disparate assets, and energy management is a headache that many retailers would just as soon hand off. But what about those who seek a holistic solution with the control that comes from handling the tasks in-house?

Prenova, an Atlanta-based provider of energy management services, hardware and software, has a solution. This spring, the company will begin offering Energy_Point, a web-based energy management solution. The application will easily integrate with existing energy management system (EMS) implementations, says Prenova president and CEO Michael J. Nark, and the best part is that it’s “brand agnostic.”

“Instead of having to understand and know how to operate with six or seven different systems with all of their idiosyncrasies, Energy_Point normalizes it all,” Nark says. “It creates a single environment.”

Prenova’s ability to oversee the entire portfolio has been especially attractive in the retail sector. When retailers have numerous locations, Nark says, “some stores operate much more efficiently than others. It can be extremely complex.”

One benefit of Energy_Point, he says, is the ability to keep a closer eye on the way individual HVAC, lighting and other systems are performing. That allows retailers to be more proactive in terms of maintenance, as well as “to make the right decisions at the right time” when it comes to replacing systems.

“The uniqueness of this approach is its ability to leverage existing technology and assets,” Nark says. “Not only does it provide visibility, but it also offers control…. And sitting on top of that is the opportunity to bring better decision-making tools for how supply and demand work together.

“It’s not just about reducing the energy consumption,” he says. “We’re talking about energy spend.”

Meeting marketplace needs
Based on the company’s success with the outsourced solution, offering software-as-a-service seemed a natural progression, Nark says.

“We didn’t start out in energy management,” he says. “We started out as a facilities management provider, focused on the retail marketplace. But as the company evolved, more and more clients began asking for services related to energy and energy management…. Initially, that was about supply, and procurement strategies for natural gas and electricity. But it evolved to include the demand side of the business, as well, the linkage between the procurement side and tying that back to how the consumer base is consuming it.”

Those who have signed on with Prenova in the past have regularly experienced a 20 to 30 percent reduction in energy spend by centralizing controls, Nark says. Those who engage the Energy_Point application, on the other hand, should see “at least a 10 to 12 percent reduction,” he says, though it’s too early for actual statistics.

“Candidly, this allows us to reach a segment of the marketplace we didn’t have a solution for,” he says. “Some prospects and clients have already made the decision to outsource everything…. Others have made the decision to create their own internal team and expertise. Our goal is to offer them both the chance to become more effective, efficient and productive, and to give them information that allows them to be proactive vs. reactive.”