Hard-to-find operational efficiency improvements are all around us. For instance:
- Is your store lit up all night long?
- How cold or warm is your staff making your facility?
- How much of your repair and maintenance spend is actually necessary?
All great questions that until a few years ago would have required you to be at your facility 24 hours a day to answer.
With the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), a manager can obtain all of this data, for all facilities, at any time of day or night. In addition, managers can turn off lights; lower, raise or locally lock out thermostat set points; and determine whether or not a maintenance call is an emergency, all from their computer or mobile device.
Locating operational efficiency opportunities
The cashier has a register and credit card machine, waitresses and bartenders have a POS system, and all facilities have the internet and a phone system… but does the facility/maintenance/energy team have the correct tools for their job? Without equipment-level data they are most likely “flying blind”. Installing temperature sensors, internet-connected thermostats and equipment-level monitoring and controls will allow a manager to locate problems as they occur so fixes can be made in real time. Making changes in real time will ensure equipment is not run or energy consumed unnecessarily.
Diagnosing operational efficiency opportunities
Once internet-connected sensors, thermostats and equipment-level controls and monitoring are in place, when issues arise they can be diagnosed without sending a technician to the facility. Is it hot because someone left the thermostat in heating mode? Did the shutdown team forget to turn the lights off? Was a freezer door left open for too long? These and other issues can cause excessive equipment run time and suboptimal occupant comfort. Being able to flag and diagnose issues remotely reduces repair and maintenance costs by reporting on unnecessary off-hours use and enabling remote control of lights and thermostats.
Implementing a fix
Now that the issue has been located and troubleshooting completed, all within minutes, a repair decision can be made. In the past, the lack of visibility would have required a truck roll or local staff dropping the set point on the thermostat but with new technology, managers can centrally control thermostat set points, ensure lights are shut off after the facility closes and determine maintenance issues that require an emergency truck roll.
This can all be done with EMS systems specifically designed for the small box retail, convenience store, and restaurant space. An EMS system can lead to improved HVAC efficiency, decrease HVAC unit run time, decrease repair and maintenance costs and reduce energy consumption all while providing exceptional guest comfort.