Leveraging Data to Save Energy
Chicago-based Root3 Technologies provides small-scale energy operators with precise data on optimal amount of energy requirement.
At a time when energy efficiency is at the top of global priority lists, it’s no wonder that companies around the world are taking innovative approaches toward the issue. One such company is Root3 Technologies, which is offering independent energy operators a solution to efficiently manage their energy usage. Using patented cloud-based software, Root3 provides clients, including hotels, universities, hospitals and corporations, with precise data on how much energy their facility needs to operate optimally. Welcome to the new face of modern environmentalism: big data analytics.
Root3’s founders noticed that a data-driven approach to sustainability existed in the larger arenas of the energy industry, but not for smaller-scale, independent energy generators, who don’t always install sophisticated management systems. In 2013, there were 24,000 independent power plants in the United States.
Archisman “Archie” Gupta, Root3’s co-founder and CEO, has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Clemson University, South Carolina, and has previously held various engineering, business development and leadership roles at Schneider Electric and ITC Holdings. He and co-founder Allison Hannon came up with the idea for Root3 Technologies while working on their MBA’s at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. It’s no surprise then Root3’s first client was the founders’ alma mater, the University of Chicago, where peak winter natural gas costs reached $1 million.
Root3’s pilot ran at the university in June 2012 and was a success. “After running the beta for a month, they saved nearly 10 percent on their overall energy costs,” says Gupta in an Ecopreneurist blog, “GreenStart’s Fall 2012 Demo Day Launches 4 Cleantech Companies.” The University of Chicago signed on as a full-time client.
Since then, Gupta has gone on to win the Innovaro Strategos Award for Most Innovative Business Model and a Gallup Award for Innovative Go-To Market Strategy for the Gallup WorldView product.
What makes Root3’s work stand apart? “It’s a significant bottom-line benefit” that helps clients cut their costs of generating power by up to 30 percent, says Gupta in a New York Times article, “Harnessing the Net to Power a Green Revolution.” Root3’s products go a step further than traditional energy management systems by using advanced algorithms and business and engineering rules to improve the efficacy of energy systems. This is done by leveraging the existing data, so there is no new capital cost for the client.
Global investors poured $1.2 billion into “cleanweb” ventures in 2011 alone, highlighting the demand for economically efficient technology like Root3’s software. “All the data is already there,” explains Gupta in the New York Times article.
“We are taking the data and converting it into actionable information, and this is actionable information hour by hour. What do you need to do? What do you need to turn on? How much do you need to produce?” Root3 uses prescriptive analytics to provide operators and engineers with forward-looking instructions and applies predictive analysis to simulate their clients’ energy profiles with new equipment, operational practices or market considerations in a fraction of the time required by typical consulting firms.
By doing so, Root3 not only saves its clients significant costs, but also helps the environment by reducing energy usage.
It seems that Root3 Technologies has come up with a winning formula: use data analysis to best understand systems and empower the client to make informed decisions in order to operate as efficiently as possible.
Kimberly Gyatso is a freelance writer based in San Francisco.