Let’s IllumeTALK about Efficiency-as-a-Service!
During the EEI National Key Account Workshop in San Antonio, TX, IllumeTALK host Aaron Woloszyn had the pleasure of sitting down with Ellie Crowley, Business Development Associate at Redaptive.
In this podcast episode, Ellie discusses how Redaptive’s new, non-traditional financing model is helping companies overcome budget obstacles to achieve efficiency and sustainability goals – faster!
Learn more about Efficiency-as-a-Service by listening to Episode 5 of IllumeTALK now:
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IllumeTALK, Episode 5: Breaking Down Efficiency-as-a-Service (EaaS) with Ellie Crowley of Redaptive Inc.
Aaron Woloszyn (AW): Hello everyone and welcome to another special IllumeTALK podcast. Right now Diane and I are in San Antonio, Texas, attending the 2018 EEI Fall Workshop.
If you're unfamiliar with EEI, EEI stands for the Edison Electric Institute. And this is a show where energy managers from all kinds of organizations, utilities from all over the United States, and program management companies much like Illumetek get together to talk about the latest trends in energy efficiency and how tech changes are being implemented in the lighting and energy world altogether.
One thing on all of our minds right now is how utility incentives are changing with the advent of controls. I'm looking forward to talking to some people about how controls and some of the other new lighting trends will impact the incentive side of our industry. But, we'll save that for a later time.
Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with Ellie Crowley, Business Development Associate from Redaptive.
Good afternoon, Ellie! How are you?
Ellie Crowley (EC): Doing very well. How are you, Aaron?
AW: I'm good, thank you. How's the show been for you so far?
EC: It's been great. We've been here since Sunday. So for a few days we get the chance to talk with a lot of good utility providers and some potential client companies who were here, and we found it to be extremely interesting so far.
AW: And this is the first time you guys have attended EEI, correct?
EC: It's my first time. There are a couple team members who have been here before, but Redaptive has never had a booth. So we've never had this large of a presence.
AW: OK. Well I'm glad you're enjoying it.
EC: Thank you.
AW: Ellie, can you tell us a little bit about Redaptive’s business model and how you guys are approaching the energy efficiency game?
EC: Sure! So Redaptive has built a platform that enables our clients to do energy efficiency projects across large corporate real estate portfolios. So, we look at lighting and non-lighting energy efficiency opportunities, and provide capital, data validation and turnkey project management resources, so that we become a real one-stop-shop to allow our customers to do these projects which unlock immediate energy savings.
AW: Awesome! And has that been successful to a lot of your clients? Are they seeing a lot of value with that?
EC: It has. When you think about this technology exists -- why is it that someone wouldn't invest in it? Capital is a big issue.
AW: Of course.
EC: So, the way our model works is we invest our capital upfront, our clients will see a reduction in energy spend as a result of those projects, and they pay us a fixed rate per unit of energy saved over a defined term and that's how the project gets paid for. But it doesn't require them to invest upfront; which allows us to do projects at many sites where we wouldn't otherwise be able to.
AW: Okay. So, what excites you most about being in the energy management world at this time?
EC: I think…
AW: Let's pretend the energy management world is exciting first…
…because it is. We think it is.
EC: How much time do you have, Aaron?
I think the most exciting thing for me is technology has advanced so much. There are so many cool things out there that people can be doing to upgrade their energy systems. And I think the advancement of that technology has far outstripped the actual changes and implementations we've seen.
AW: I would agree.
EC: So there's a pretty big disconnect. And I think that's why the mode of thinking around what is inhibiting this from happening, and how can we offer resources to get around those barriers, is an incredibly interesting seat to be sitting in.
So I think there is a very obvious addressable opportunity – across lighting, HVAC, water treatment systems, air compressors – and the game at this point is figuring out how you can bridge the gap between available technologies and actually seeing facility managers implement these technologies in their different buildings. And we've done an excellent job up to this point putting together a platform that will enable people to take advantage of these technologies that are out there. And one key point of our offering that we haven't dived into yet is data validation – I think at a high level people are pretty quick to understand the fact that more energy efficient technologies are a good thing.
AW: Of course.
EC: They're are good financial investment, but it's hard to measure asset by asset what your consumption is, both before and after a project. So answering questions that are more granular like:
What's my return on investment?
What is the payback here – exactly?
How good is this project?
That's much more difficult so we have technology that we use building-by-building which measures energy consumption across assets. And so, when we do one project you can see on a month-to-month basis – in both energy units and dollars – what savings have been affected as a result of the Redaptive project. And once we get that technology in there, we can also see the other energy systems at play. So if you've done a lighting project with us – for example, we can look and say you know your boiler chiller is 30 percent of your existing energy consumption in this building. I would recommend you look at that as your next target for an energy efficiency project. And so really being able to bring measurement and validation to these projects, to justify and inform them, is something that we do that differentiates us.
AW: So, it's almost like that that data validation is real time ROI.
EC: Yes, exactly.
AW: That’s pretty cool.
EC: Exactly. And when you talk about efficiency as a service, and that model where you're paying for the saved energy, you need to be extremely sure and extremely comfortable with exactly what that number is around the saved energy. It both strengthens our billing model and brings transparency to utility bills in a way that people are not experiencing on the whole. So allowing people to engage more with their energy spend, think more intelligently about it, and understand it to a greater extent than they have been prior.
AW: I know it's hard to think about this, but 2018 is almost over…
AW: The year went by super quick.
AW: And there's been a lot of big advancements in 2018 – especially with energy saving measures and energies and service loading a service all that. What are some of the biggest highlights that are adaptive has had in the last year, in your opinion?
EC: Sure. Well, first of all we closed a Series B this past year.
AW: Oh, that's right…
AW: That's great news.
EC: So twenty million dollars in funding that was certainly a company high.
EC: Thank you very much! And on behalf of the team, thank you. So that enabled us to really invest in growing our team, and build out different parts of the business.
AW: You guys are growing pretty rapidly.
EC: We are, yes. Yes. We've added 30 or so to our central office in the past four or five months. And onboarded many additional installation partners across the nation. So, extremely rapid growth.
AW: So, do you have any predictions for 2019?
EC: Yeah, you know, I think you're right – I think 2018 saw increased discourse around energy-as-a-service and lighting-as-a-service. I think when you speak to people they're starting to understand the model more quickly and the concept as being more widely socialized to people…
AW: They’re seeing much more value in it.
EC: Absolutely. And it's funny that – when you brought it up, you mentioned both energy-as-a-service and lighting-as-a-service – and I think when we talk about this model we often use lighting as an example. Lighting projects are right now a majority of the kinds of projects that we do, because it's easy to understand, it's widely applicable across real estate portfolios. I think other energy measures might differ a little bit more – they're a little bit more involved. But I think 2019 is really going to see the penetration of the energy service model into different things like HVAC, RTU's, water treatment systems… and once people get comfortable that the model works, then they can be comfortable not only scaling projects across the portfolio but scaling within energy systems as well.
AW: I couldn't answer that any better. That was good.
EC: Thank you.
AW: Well I think that's a great place to stop, Ellie. I appreciate you taking the time to sit down with me today. I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.
EC: I certainly did!
AW: Do you have any big plans for the rest of the show and today's the last day?
EC: You know I fly out tonight, we managed to see the river walk Sunday night. So that was the big outstanding thing on my To-Do list. I think I can leave happy at this point.
AW: All right. Well I'm glad you were able to do that.
EC: Thank you.
AW: And thank you all for listening to another IllumeTALK. As always you can reach out to anyone here at Illumetek on LinkedIn, or by going to our website illumetek.com. That's I-L-L-U-M-E-T-E-K and to stay on top of the latest IllumeTALK podcast news. Follow us on Instagram @IllumeTALK. That’s I-L-L-U-M-E-T-A-L-K.
IllumeTALK is a production of Front Porch Media. I'd like to thank our producer Brigid Coyne, and Audio Engineers Dave Douglas and Eric Koltnow. To learn more about this and other podcasts, visit thefrontporchpeople.com.