Open Kitchen/SiteSage FAQs

Learn more about Open Kitchen/SiteSage software and hardware and our mobile apps by reading the questions and answers below.

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I already have programmable thermostats, why do I need Open Kitchen/SiteSage thermostats?

Programmable thermostats work well as long as they retain the desired settings – which they often do not, due to onsite overrides. Open Kitchen/SiteSage thermostats are internet-connected, which means that you can control them remotely from a central location, even from your phone. Scheduling is easy: you can push down schedules to all, or some, of your locations with a single button. You can also program local lockouts so that you have control over whether, how much, and for how long onsite staff can adjust temperatures. And Open Kitchen/SiteSage thermostats are part of the broader Open Kitchen/SiteSage Monitoring and Control modules, which offer powerful diagnostic tools to let you know exactly how your equipment is performing in real-time.

My facility is brand new, it can’t be wasting energy already, why do I need Open Kitchen/SiteSage?

Brand new equipment is often not commissioned or is commissioned once and then left to drift out of compliance, so problems go undetected until something breaks. Open Kitchen/SiteSage gives you the ability to monitor your equipment 24/7/365, so it can alert you to equipment that isn’t performing as it should be. Proactive maintenance calls are 1/3 the cost of reactive maintenance calls, so Open Kitchen/SiteSage can save you a bundle just through predictive maintenance, letting you know when hidden issues are brewing. Moreover, the fact that lighting and equipment are new does not mean that they are operating only when they should be. And Open Kitchen/SiteSage offers benefits far beyond energy and maintenance savings, including:

  • protecting food safety for organizations with refrigeration and food preparation equipment
  • enhancing comfort for customers and staff
  • saving facility staff time by allowing them to focus on problematic equipment and avoid emergencies
  • helping you keep tabs on your utility bills and spot errors
  • enabling you to identify and track equipment and its current condition, enterprise-wide

I just paid for (fill in the blank energy retrofit, i.e. LEDs, new RTUs) and am saving energy. How can you still save more?

Retrofits can be terrific, but replacing equipment isn’t the only way to save energy. Open Kitchen/SiteSage looks at how your equipment, new and old, is actually performing to make sure that it’s operating as it should. For instance, LED lights use far less energy than incandescent or halogen lamps, but if they’re left on overnight by mistake, you’re still spending more than you need to. Similarly, a new Roof Top Unit (RTU) may be efficient, but if it’s oversized or undersized for the space it’s conditioning, or if it’s running constantly, it’s going to be using more energy than necessary. Additionally, most commercial facilities pay demand charges, and Open Kitchen/SiteSage can help you stagger equipment startup intelligently to reduce those charges.

How long does Open Kitchen/SiteSage take to implement?

Depending on the complexity of your location, including the number of RTUs, the amount of equipment, and the number of temperature and other sensors that need to be installed, installation time per location should be less than a day (usually less than half a day). As soon as the system has been installed, HVAC and other controls are live and data will start to be uploaded to the cloud.

Does Open Kitchen/SiteSage cause any disruption to customers or staff?

Open Kitchen/SiteSage can be installed when your facility is open with no disruption or loss of revenue. Open Kitchen/SiteSage actually will help to preserve your customers’ comfort by ensuring that proper thermostat settings are observed, and because Open Kitchen/SiteSage analytics enable predictive maintenance, it reduces downtime. Open Kitchen/SiteSage controls simplify opening and closing procedures for staff by automating equipment start-up and shut-down. Maintenance is also simplified, which saves your staff time, because maintenance professionals can see the condition of any monitored equipment in the Open Kitchen/SiteSage app, in real-time, making diagnosing problems much easier. And, for those with kitchen equipment, Open Kitchen helps enhance food safety and food quality.

How much does it cost?

Open Kitchen/SiteSage’s cost depends on the number and complexity of your locations, as well as the Open Kitchen/SiteSage modules you choose to use. Payback for the cost of Open Kitchen/SiteSage is achieved in less than two years, and sometimes in less than one year. You can read some case studies here.

What kind of support do you provide?

A Customer Success Manager (CSM), available 24/7, 365 days of the year, is assigned to every commercial customer during the Pilot phase at no additional cost. The CSM will help you make the most of your Open Kitchen/SiteSage system by proactively reaching out regarding issues they’ve discovered, making sure installation goes smoothly, helping you to train your staff if needed, and offering technical support. Multiple CSM service plans are available after the Pilot.

How do you connect everything to the Internet?

The Open Kitchen/SiteSage Gateway connects to a Wi-Fi network, Ethernet, or a cellular network, depending on your preference. Open Kitchen/SiteSage has been certified PCI DSS 3.2 Level 1 compliant. Learn more about Open Kitchen architecture and security here and the SiteSage architecture and security here.

How much time do you need from me?

Open Kitchen/SiteSage is designed to minimize the time required from the customer team both during installation and during the Pilot program, as well as thereafter. Open Kitchen/SiteSage can be provisioned to be a “set it and forget it” tool, automating and enforcing efficient control settings without any customer intervention required, and alerting you to issues only when they need your attention. Powerhouse Dynamics Customer Success Managers also provide services to make implementation and onboarding as simple as possible, including configuring the controls and setting up all of the initial reports and alerts. After the Pilot, we offer several support packages, including the option for a nearly “hands-off” service.

If the internet goes down, do I lose control of everything?

Our controller and smart thermostats store their programs locally, so they will continue to run as programmed – remote changes can be made after Internet connectivity has been restored. Open Kitchen/SiteSage stores all of your collected data for up to three weeks locally, and will upload it to the cloud the next time Internet connectivity is available.

What is the warranty?

Open Kitchen/SiteSage equipment is under warranty for 2 years. Thermostats are provided by a third party, who warrantees them for 1 year.

Who performs the installation?

Powerhouse Dynamics has a nationwide network of qualified and trained installers, including electricians and HVAC technicians. All installers must be licensed to perform electrical work by the state in which the facility is located. Some customers prefer to have their own HVAC/electrical contractors install Open Kitchen/SiteSage, in which case we can provide remote support during installation.

How does Open Kitchen/SiteSage help me save money?

Open Kitchen/SiteSage protects your profits by:

  • Controlling HVAC and other equipment to reduce their energy use
  • Identifying inefficient equipment operation that is increasing energy spend
  • Weeding out unnecessary after-hours equipment use
  • Proactively identifying equipment problems, replacing expensive reactive repairs with cheaper proactive maintenance calls, and avoiding downtime
  • Helping you manage service vendors more effectively
  • Providing information to better prioritize repairs and equipment replacements
  • Identifying water leaks
  • Monitoring utility bills to find anomalies
  • Protecting you from food safety issues

I’m rarely at my desk. How can I get the benefits of Open Kitchen/SiteSage without logging in on my computer?

Open Kitchen/SiteSage is “mobile-first”, with all key functions available on your Android or iOS mobile device. In addition, alerts and reports are pushed to you via text message or email, as well as through app notifications.

Does Powerhouse Dynamics deploy edge devices?

Edge Computing, sometimes known as Fog Computing, is a method used to enhance Cloud Computing by performing some processing and analysis in devices located at the “edge” of the local network, near the source of the data. This reduces the amount of data that needs to be transmitted to the cloud (reducing required bandwidth) and eliminates the latency associated with the round-trip movement of data. An “Edge Device” is a computer or other device that performs that processing.

Edge Computing is built into the Open Kitchen/SiteSage platform architecture. The Open Kitchen/SiteSage IoT Gateway is an Edge Device that aggregates and stores data and provides a single point of communications with the cloud, greatly reducing the number of transmissions and greatly enhancing security. Energy-related calculations (e.g. computing power factor and power) are done locally on Open Kitchen/SiteSage Energy Monitors, which can store data for up to 4 weeks in the event of temporary network issues. Open Kitchen/SiteSage wireless Sensor Pods also can store temperature and other data collected to address communications (and power) failures. Finally, Open Kitchen/SiteSage SmartControls interface directly with sensors – such as light sensors – which can impact control functions without data needing to travel through the cloud.

Does Open Kitchen/SiteSage work with my CMMS/work order system?

Powerhouse Dynamics is a ServiceChannel Solution Partner, which means that our systems integrate well. If you are using ServiceChannel, we can easily configure your system to generate work orders automatically based on the parameters you set. To learn more about our integration with ServiceChannel, see this blog post