Own the Solution, Not the Equipment: A Q&A with Casey Talon of Guidehouse Insights

May 11th, 2020

Market Leadership

Own the Solution, Not the Equipment is a new white paper that explores the dynamic energy efficiency as a service (EEaaS) industry. The paper was sponsored by Metrus and written by Casey Talon of Guidehouse Insights, a premier market intelligence and advisory firm covering the global energy transformation with a focus on emerging resilient infrastructure systems We spoke with Casey about the paper and the opportunities that lie ahead for the EEaaS industry.

Who should read this paper?

Any building owner or manager that’s looking at a challenge of either deferred maintenance, or other kinds of challenges in operating their building with limited capital. This is a really powerful pathway to tackle building performance and efficiency.

How do you see the advancement in technology (IoT) intersecting with energy efficiency as a service?

I think it’s a pathway to an even more efficient delivery of these projects. For example, utilizing IoT-based sensors for real time data, and then layering on analytics and software applications to create a much more efficient process for measurement and verification of savings.

The process of everything from scoping out what kind of efficiency measures should be deployed in the building, to planning out the project, to measuring its impact, and then utilizing that data to develop reporting. Each of those stages can really be helped by IoT technologies.

In what market (customer) segments does this play particularly well?

Healthcare is a good one. When you start deploying an IoT solution in a hospital, for example, you can start getting real-time data around asset tracking. That can be immensely valuable. Take the crisis we’re dealing with now, where there’s a lot of sharing of nursing resources, or look at an IoT system that’s monitoring indoor air quality, there are many applications that can make the space healthier and more efficient in the way patients are cared for. It’s a really powerful use case.

Commercial office space is going to be another segment to watch. Consider how new technologies can help with space utilization and wayfinding. Think about how we move within a commercial office: one hallway could be for going one direction, and another is to go another way; one elevator goes up, another only goes down. There will be people-counting to ensure that businesses are deploying social distancing. All of a sudden, these capabilities that were once considered merely a convenience are now really critical.

What does this mean for customers?

People are going to want to know that when they go back to the office that they’ll be as safe and healthy as possible.

Since many people will no longer need to go into the office every day, we’re probably going to see people start using new technologies to schedule their office time. They could use a hoteling app to reserve a desk for Mondays and Wednesdays, and they’ll know which elevator to use and how to get to their desk. They’ll know whether the indoor air quality is being addressed and if the HVAC is running efficiently. They’ll also be able to find out if the air circulation has been scheduled and commissioned to work with the right volume of airflow for the right kind of occupancy in this new, less dense reality.

How does energy efficiency as a service intersect with other clean energy technologies?

By working with an EEaaS model, customers can actually make their projects happen in a much more cohesive way. They can suddenly get a lot more done. Rather than saying, ‘I’m just going to do this lighting retrofit this year,’ they’ll say, ‘I’m actually going to do a pretty significant upgrade to my entire building.’

In our research, we’re hearing that occupants really are looking for sustainable buildings. I think building owners recognize that sustainability is a brand element now and that impacts their bottom lines. If they’re delivering a space that’s smart, sustainable and efficient, employees and prospective employees will see that as part of the company’s brand. That factors into where people choose to work.

Can energy efficiency as a service be of particular help to customers in the wake of COVID-19?

Sustainability is still a really high priority, and tackling greenhouse gas emissions will remain a priority, particularly for big organizations and large companies. If they’re able to decrease their building’s carbon footprint with no upfront project costs, that remains really appealing.

This “forced pause” is a really interesting inflection point. We argue that the private sector has a major obligation to continue their focus on climate change and sustainability. Further, I think there is a huge leadership opportunity for the private sector as they are increasingly challenged to differentiate themselves as the economy starts to reopen. If they can find and utilize partners to help make their buildings better than they were before, the better the opportunity is for future success.

Contact us to get a free copy of the Guidehouse White Paper.