Energy costs can gobble up a significant amount of your operating budget, especially when part of your business model includes power-hungry equipment or appliances. Smappee Pro, a new energy monitoring and management platform, is designed to small and midsize business operators visibility into their energy consumption while also providing tips on how to reduce usage and cut waste.
"Smappee breaks energy costs down into an itemized format, so people can focus on where their energy costs are going within their business," says Richard Morgan, business development manager at Smappee.
How Smappee Pro Works
The system requires a combination of hardware installed in the main fuse box, along with clip-on sensors that go around the cables feeding the power panel. "That monitors the energy consumption coming into the business," Morgan explains. "The current clamps that go around the cables enable you to split out where the energy is going in your business." Comfort Plugs (more on those later) placed into the wall outlets let you control individual appliances and equipment.
Once the hardware is in place, Smappee Pro customers can use the Web portal and the mobile application to view the details of their energy usage. The platform doesn't just display how much electricity your business uses on a day-by-day, month-by-month or even real-time basis.
"Smappee can break that down to the main appliances and areas within the business," Morgan says. It itemizes usage—how much electricity went to power the air conditioning unit, the office computers, the coffee machine, etc.—so that small business owners know exactly where their electricity dollars are going.
Smappee Pro is an energy-monitoring platform designed to help small businesses save money on electrical costs.
Monitor Alternative Energy Use, Too
For businesses leveraging renewable energy sources, Smappee Pro can help monitor and manage those, too. "If they have solar panels on the roof, they can see in real time how much energy, and also how many dollars, that solar array is saving them," Morgan says. That data helps business owners manage those energy sources day-to-day, while also giving them insight into how their investment is paying off in the longer term.
Some business operators may not know what to do with all the data available in Smappee Pro. Fortunately, the platform can help with that, too. "We've created specific tips to help people reduce and manage their energy consumption in their business without needing to be an energy expert," Morgan says. The tips can guide you through comparing costs at different locations to identify potential opportunities for savings, for example. For businesses using fluctuating cost tiers, a Smappee tip may suggest switching some equipment to run during lower-rate hours, such as at night.
Smappee Pro also gives small businesses better control over appliance and equipment usage through the use of Comfort Plugs. "They go into an electrical outlet on the wall and then you plug in an appliance, whether it's a stand-up freezer or something that's normally plugged into that electrical outlet," Morgan says. "Smappee can then control those appliances." Customers can use the Smappee mobile app to manually turn specific appliances on or off. Forget to turn the copier off before you locked up? Do it from the parking lot or even from your couch via your smartphone.
You can also set the Comfort Plugs to run on a schedule for less fuss and greater efficiency. "That ensures that all of the computers and screens that don't necessarily need to be on during the middle of the night, automatically get switched off," Morgan says. The Comfort Plugs can also ensure that everything is turned on and ready to go when employees begin to arrive in the morning.
Manually controlling the Comfort Plugs or setting them for scheduled on/off events is all well and good, but the platform does even more. "Smappee sees the energy consumption of the site and it can intelligently say, ‘This site is pretty quiet at the moment. The energy consumption has dipped to a low level, and I'm not seeing any appliances or machines coming on or off. Therefore, I'm going to classify this site as being inactive,'" Morgan says. When that happens, the system will switch the Comfort Plugs off to help keep energy use as low as possible without any input from the business owner.
The base price for Smappee Pro currently costs about $640 for the necessary hardware. Add in a 12-month subscription to access the data in the Web portal—about $330—and your business is on its way to curbing energy usage and reducing costs.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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