June 2021: Cover Story on the Energy Intelligence Center.
By Laura Davis
“We are committed to energy reduction with zero or low upfront costs and a core focus on commercial and industrial properties” – Charlie Szoradi – Energy Intelligence Center, Founder and Chief Technology Officer
“We see small business and master electricians designing, installing, and innovating energy-conserving technologies,” – President Joe Biden
With U.S. President Joe Biden’s proposal to build a modern, sustainable infrastructure and an equitable clean energy future gaining attention, there is no better time than now to think and do something about energy conservation. Over the years, the idea of sustainable energy use has grown exponentially in popularity, with several international pacts, regional covenants, and national programs supporting it. However, considering where we are today, it’s safe to say that the impact of these efforts has been undeniably subpar. Energy consumption continues to stay high, loudly echoing our inability to successfully meet the needs of our future generations. Though the reasons for high energy usage are in multitude, inefficient industrial cooling takes a prominent position among top fields known to take a significant share of energy consumption in the United States. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2021, electricity use in 2020 for commercial cooling was about 155 billion kWh—12 percent of total commercial sector electricity consumption. This is just one side of the coin. Industrial cooling has also panned out to be an excessive burden for businesses with its massive energy requirements. Organizations with high dependency on industrial cooling— breweries, dairies, and blast freezing facilities—have more than 80 percent of their expenses spent on these operations, which completely disrupts their financial stability. This reinforces the need for businesses to look at energy conservation as a much-needed aspect of their operations to draw a successful roadmap and contribute toward the global goal to save energy for the future.
Enter Energy Intelligence Center (EIC).
“We are committed to energy reduction with zero or low upfront costs and a core focus on commercial and industrial properties,” says Charlie Szoradi, the founder and chief technology officer of EIC. The company specializes in designing powerful solutions to help businesses reduce commercial energy consumption on air conditioning, refrigeration, and blast freezing systems. Since their inception, they have been focusing on developing efficient clean-technology solutions to align with their clients’ energy conservation missions. EIC’s evolution as a global leader in providing clean-tech is the result of Szoradi’s tenacious passion for saving energy for the greater good of mankind and reducing costs for facilities in the U.S. and around the world. He leveraged his decades-worth experience to find appropriate clean technologies across the breadth of options and curate them within great-engineered design solutions. And the result was an advanced and custom-tailored OptikW algorithmic software that Szoradi refers to as “the technology cornerstone” of their state-of-the-art solution stack.
An Intelligent Energy-Saving Solution
Szoradi says, “Buildings are not static; they are dynamic organisms. Their HVAC system acts like lungs while columns and beams are bones. Thermostats and sensors are the nerves sending signals to the building management systems, which is the brain. Synchronizing and optimizing these systems yields safety and efficiency for a sustainable future — a value proposition that our solution offers abundantly.”
OptikW leverages dynamic variables, such as the air temperature, relative humidity, and dew point, to synchronize pieces of equipment within the HVAC system and create harmony between the system and ambient conditions. This leads to optimization of the HVAC equipment and ultimately energy savings. The tailored solutions are also designed to distribute cooling loads across chillers, based on the exact specification of each chiller and the outside air conditions. EIC’s robust OptikW algorithmic software optimizes clients’ energy consumption without disrupting their existing equipment, while integrating with each facility’s existing building management systems (BMS).
Furthermore, OptikW is optimized to provide security, data analytics, and operational synergies that make clients’ facilities 15 to 40 percent more energy-efficient and reduces energy consumption and bottom-line expenses. It utilizes big data, algorithmic software, artificial intelligence, machine earning, and other advanced technologies, which help in augmenting buildings’ safety and efficiency. By using the Internet of Things (IoT), the solutions interconnect industrial cooling facilities and multiple commercial buildings, enabling seamless data sharing and enhanced learning within the complex community of networked buildings. EIC also navigates the complexities associated with operational and energy efficiency, provides measurement, diagnostics, monitoring, and verification services, and secures utility rebates, grants, or performance compensation options to maximize the individual financial rate of ROI for clients.
Customer-Centricity at Its Core
While the OptikW solution suite manifests EIC’s technical excellence, its unique performance-contracting model and a four-step client engagement approach testify to its dedication toward ensuring customer satisfaction. A typical engagement begins with the company gathering customers’ preliminary information on their existing systems through a questionnaire, which is often referred to as a datasheet. EIC then performs a free preliminary savings assessment and creates a preliminary savings report with an approximate calculation of savings. This is followed by a site visit or an investment-grade audit to learn more about clients’ energy consumption parameters and custom programming development to show them the exact savings they can gain.
Upon receiving clients’ final approval, EIC begins programming operations to make the client’s HVAC equipment and ecosystem smarter. This is done by connecting the BMS or building automation system (BAS) with EIC’s solution to kick start the saving cycle for the facility. The company also provides several post-implementation services, where it measures and verifies the performance to ensure that the solution is working well within their environment.
Performance in the Real World
With such a powerful value proposition, EIC caters to a wide range of clients with several prominent players in its customer base. The company has on-site experience at major industrial facilities that had high energy demands and cooling loads. Szoradi recalls their collaboration with a leading brewery whose electricity consumption in 2019 was 56,032,000 kWh. The company’s initial assessments identified that they could save up to 8,828,729 kWh/year. This accounts for about 15.7 percent of their current usage. At the current cost of 0.0515 dollars/kWh, this translates into 450,000 dollars of energy savings per year. The company was intended to optimize cooling towers, evaporative condensers, ammonia (NH3) compressors used for industrial refrigeration, glycol transfer pumps, plate heat exchangers, HVAC distribution, and exhaust fans. The major savings, namely from the compressors, is based on harnessing the floating head pressure controls of the NH3 condensers without compromising the requirements of the process temperatures and the tonnage of the glycol system.
Such instances testify to EIC’s technical excellence in enabling OptikW to make clients’ HVAC systems smarter and efficient.
The Bicycle Spokes of Sustainability Alongside the proprietary offerings, EIC also delivers clients with an all-inclusive, cost-effective, and integrated solution suite that can incorporate all energy conservation measures (ECMs). The company achieves this through its strategic partnership with several leading technology vendors. “Our clean-tech partners are the spokes on the wheel of sustainable solutions,” says Szoradi. More importantly, this partnership resulted in the creation of a “Five Star” solution that helps align the most appropriate technologies to clients’ existing buildings or new construction projects. It encompasses EIC’s OptikW and four other novel solutions—Clean Peak Energy, Purge Virus, Independence LED Lighting, and Building Fit—which clients can leverage for significant energy saving. Clean Peak Energy is an algorithmic software that uses the thermal mass of their building as a battery to store temperature and reduce peak interval energy costs. It minimizes energy consumption by raising the building’s power demand overnight and reducing its power requirement during the peak demand hours during the day.
Ventilation and disinfection are other areas that most organizations struggle with due to complications in aligning the right technology and correctly integrating advanced filtration, air quality monitoring, energy recovery ventilators, and economizers with the BMS. This is where EIC’s sister company, Purge Virus, enters the game with its bipolar ionization and ultraviolet capabilities to clean indoor air and reduce the requirements for as much outside replacement air.
As the pandemic continues to impact human and economic health, improving indoor air quality (IAQ) and reducing energy costs are key ways to help schools, apartment buildings, manufacturing facilities, and businesses overall recover and thrive.
“Buildings are not static; they are dynamic organisms. Their HVAC system acts like lungs while columns and beams are bones. Thermostats and sensors are the nerves sending signals to the building management systems, which is the brain. Synchronizing and optimizing these systems yields safety and efficiency for a sustainable future — a value proposition that our solution offers abundantly” – Charlie Szoradi
PLC with Ethernet Connection
Our OptikW Programmable Logic Control (PLC) boards integrated with existing BMS and BAS systems, typically without requiring the replacement or addition of new HVAC equipment. Think of our work as adding a brain to the HVAC.
Clients can reduce their lighting energy expenses with another one of EIC’s sister companies, Independence LED Lighting that uses energy-saving lights to save 50 percent or more over traditional lights. Its next-gen direct current (DC) system helps reduce energy loss at multiple points of operations relative to typical AC systems, ensuring higher efficiency, lower expenses, and huge ROI. On the other hand EIC’s strategic partner, BuildingFit is a fault detection and diagnostics, analysis and visualization platform that identifies opportunities to make building more energy-efficient, reliable, comfortable, and safe. It can analyze huge volumes of data— historically siloed data from BAS, weather services, and remote sensors—measure and verify it to identify areas of savings and track performance. In a nutshell, OptikW, coupled with these ECMs, can typically save 15 percent or more each, adding up to savings that can cut clients’ energy bills in half.
All-Inclusive Energy Saving Package
“We have more powerful solutions in our arsenal that can help clients with their varying energy-saving needs during retrofit or new construction. And this is the result of our strong partnerships with several technology vendors,” says Szoradi. One among them is Nextek Power Systems that serves clients’ energy saving needs with lighting systems and microgrids by delivering advanced DC power supplies and power hub drivers (PhDs). On the other hand, Nexii empowers them with high-performance buildings and retrofit products that are cost-efficient, use less energy, and are resilient in the face of climate change. Aircosaver provides proprietary technology for devices that are ideal for saving energy at facilities with rooftop units (RTUs), wall-mounted units, window units, cassette units, or single split systems.
For clients looking to tap the potential of solar energy, Jordan Energy is an ideal choice. It provides best-in-class comprehensive solutions that help them harness the power of the sun. Furthermore, Energy Efficient Technologies’ CryoGenX4, a surface science liquid nanotechnology, can save 15-20% of electricity costs on all HVAC and Refrigeration equipment.
This technology removes and emulsifies oil fouling at heat exchange surfaces and enhances their ability to transfer heat. This prevents oil from adhering to coils, which improves the efficiency and capacity of the HVAC/Refrigeration/ Freezer system. Most facilities are already in dire straits due to the scarcity of water, and it is the need of the hour for them to embrace advanced solutions to ensure its efficient use. ElectroCell Systems is right there. It serves as an alternative to traditional filters with a patented, custom-designed, automated side-stream particle precipitator system that increases the efficiency and reliability of water systems of commercial, industrial, and institutional HVAC facilities. It reduces make-up water by 20-30 percent by increasing equipment efficiency, focusing on evaporation rates rather than extending bleed cycles. Clients can save energy up to 12-15 percent by increasing thermal transfer and system efficiency.
Needless to say, EIC, along with its wide array of technology partners, serves as a one-stop-shop solution for most organizations’ industrial energy-saving drives with promised benefits on ROI. “We are on a track of continuous innovation to augment our capabilities and look forward to engaging with new tech-partners who can really add value to our clients’ operations. This way, we intend to stay ahead of the clean-tech game with a core focus on energy conservation while promising a high ROI,” concludes Szoradi.
April 2021: Mann Report – Cover Story (above) https://mydigitalpublication.com/publication/?m=22781&i=703000&p=12.
EIC’s sister company Purge Virus helps provide SAFE and EFFICIENT buildings by reducing the need for excessive outside replacement air. Here are links to some key media coverage that includes EIC and Purge Virus.
https://purgevirus.com/news/ – Press Releases
June 2021: Manufacturing Technology Insights Magazine (above on this page)
February 2021: https://purgevirus.com/disinfection-overview/