August 17, 2017 / 0 Comments

Total Solar Eclipse Effects on Restaurants: Lights!

I, Karli Barich, Ektos Director of Marketing, will be one of the millions of migrators into the path of totality this weekend.  We hit the road on Saturday, with our ISO-approved solar glasses, extra gas, and even our own portable toilet.  I got to thinking about all our fabulous Ektos customers in the path of totality and thought I’d spread some of my nerd knowledge on the event.

Is your restaurant near the path of totality for the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday?

If so, here are some things you should know:

Your restaurant’s visibility will decrease if your lights are off!

From 9AM Pacific to 3PM Eastern, through 14 states across the U.S., it will feel like a short night in the middle of the day.

Watch this video to get a glimpse of Monday’s eclipse, and how it will impact your lights.  For Ektos customers, this automated lighting scenario applies to all of our serviced energy management systems. **Note here: Your eclipse times will be different from the video depending on your location.

The eclipse will have a gradual effect on daylight over about two and a half (2.5) hours.   Take a look at this map to see the eclipse’s impact on your restaurant’s location.

nasa_eclipse_map

296The country is expecting a migration of around 7 million people into the path of totality during the eclipse, so prepare for a swarm of customers!  Let your outside lights help you to attract them to your restaurant!

Part of the excitement of a total solar eclipse is the darkness in mid-day.  If your parking lot lights are on during 100% total eclipse, you may get a few complaints.  For Ektos customers, we can help your parking lot stay in darkness and keep your building lights on.  Be sure to contact our customer service (1-800-783-0383) if this is something you want to do.

Which applies to you?

My outside lights are LEDs.     My outside lights are HALOGEN.

My lights are halogen (i.e. old-school).

As you know, halogen lights take much more energy to turn on and keep on than LEDs, so depending on your restaurant’s location you may want to keep outside lights off.   If you have halogen outside lights and your restaurant is outside of the path of totality (85% and lower), we recommend you do nothing and go about your eclipse day as normal.

 

Halogens on Light Meters

IF YOU ARE AN EKTOS CUSTOMER, you’re covered!  If you have halogen outside lights running on a light meter, and your restaurant is located within the path of totality, it is likely your outside lights will come on automatically.  If your restaurant is outside the path of totality (85% and lower), it may not be dark enough to trip your light meter and your lights will stay off.

Halogens on Timers

If you have halogen outside lights on a timer, you have a decision to make.  Is your restaurant close to the path of totality?  If so, you may want to consider spending the energy to turn your lights on.  If not, you may decide to save that energy (and money) for more burger buns or taco shells or whatever your customers eat from your fabulous kitchen.  IF YOU ARE AN EKTOS CUSTOMER, your lights are on a light meter, so again you’re already covered!  

Halogens on Manual Control

If your location is within the path of totality and you control your lights manually, you can probably hire this cat to help you.

Temperatures Dropping too? Read More!

My lights are LEDs (i.e. efficient & awesome).

LEDs on Light Meters

IF YOU ARE AN EKTOS CUSTOMER, you’re covered!  If your lights are on a light meter, pay attention over the next couple days to see when your lights come on and turn off according to the daylight.  If you need to adjust your lumen setpoint, now is the time to do it.  With proper lumen setpoints, your lights should come on automatically during the time of eclipse.

LEDs on Timers

If your lights are on a timer, make sure you adjust that timer so that your lights come ON one hour before and turn OFF one hour after your scheduled eclipse time on August 21st.   Here’s a list of major cities in the path of totality and their scheduled eclipse time. IF YOU ARE AN EKTOS CUSTOMER, your lights are on a light meter, so again you’re already covered!

LEDs on Manual Control

If you control your lights manually, have fun flipping those switches!  Don’t forget to set a reminder to flip it.  Again, IF YOU ARE AN EKTOS CUSTOMER, you’re already covered with your light meter.

When 100% Totality hits Major Cities

10:17 am     Corvallis, Albany and Lebanon, Oregon
11:34 am     Idaho Falls, Idaho
11:44 am    Casper, Wyoming
1:00  pm    Grand Island, Lincoln Nebraska
1:08 pm     St Joseph, Missouri
1:09 pm    Kansas City, Missouri
1:14 pm    Columbia, Jefferson City, Missouri
1:18 pm    St Louis, Missouri
1:28 pm    Bowling Green, Kentucky
1:28 pm  Nashville, Tennessee
2:39 pm    Greenville, South Carolina
2:43 pm   Columbia, South Carolina

 

 

Use that cooler outside air!

Studies show that the outside temperature in the path of totality may drop by 12 to 18 degrees for a couple minutes during 100% coverage.  Since outside temperatures will most likely not drop below 70 degrees, that means your HVAC units will probably still be running A/C like a normal day.

IF YOU ARE AN EKTOS CUSTOMER, your energy management system will automatically take into account the outside temperature and the room temperature and decide whether or not your restaurant can be cooled by just using outside air and use far less energy than running regular A/C.  You need to do… nothing!

Will you have energy?

download

The energy grids may be able to handle this extra influx of people, and they may not.  If you have a generator to help you out in the case of a black-out, it may be a good idea to give it an extra look before eclipse day.

Make sure you’re ready for the madness!

Total solar eclipses are rare.  The last one in Washington was in 1979.  I wasn’t born yet, but one woman’s recount of the event is getting me super pumped (see this blog’s resources below).  The last path of totality that banded across the U.S. (like the one coming up on August 21) happened on June 8, 1918.

I picture this experience to be somewhat like the RV parade in Independence Day. Traffic is already starting to pile up as of yesterday.

Be sure to like or follow us for more eclipse information, and for more current events and industry news affecting energy management and restaurants.

LikeUsOnFacebook_Icon twitter-buttonContact Ektos Customer Service

 

 

Wishing you an exciting eclipse day!

Karli & the Ektos Team



 

Resources:

https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/in/usa/seattle

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/eclipse-maps

https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/statistics/

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/08/annie-dillards-total-eclipse/536148/

 

May 10, 2017 / 0 Comments

What should your HVAC supply differential be?

Differential Temperature is the drop in supply temperature after cooling is engaged, or the rise in supply temperature after heating is engaged.

Use this information to solve performance issues. If an HVAC is only producing a 2-degree differential temperature when calling for cooling, this may be an indication that the compressor is low on Freon.

supplydiffcool

An HVAC running 2 compressors should cause a drop in supply temperature of at least 10 degrees lower than the room temperature.

supplydiffheat

An HVAC that uses gas heating should causes a rise in supply temperature of at least 20 degrees higher than the room temperature.

May 5, 2017 / 0 Comments

1 Way to Avoid a Temperature Emergency

Spring

It’s Spring time!  As we adjust to the warmer weather, so do your HVACs.  If you haven’t been paying attention to your EMS alarms for your cooling stages over the mild season, you will start to feel the burn when the weather starts really heating up.

One way to avoid a temperature emergency is to pay attention to your alarms.  

alarm bellcleanedAlarms from your EMS point out issues that may not be noticed in day to day operations, especially when the outside temperature is similar to your inside temperature.  For instance, a “stage 2 cool fail” alarm can indicate an HVAC that should be running two stages of cooling but only one stage is actually running.  You may not notice much of a difference of temperature in the building, but you’re wasting energy and wasting time by not addressing the problem.

cool stages onRunning your air compressor to get cooler air (AC) takes much more energy than just running the fan.  For every minute your first cooling stage is compensating for your lack of second stage, you’re wasting energy and losing money.

wrenchIconYou may not notice its lack of performance now when it’s a nice 75 degrees outside, but when the outside temperature hits 90 degrees and the poor first stage has no help, you’ll have a temperature emergency.  You can avoid that day answering to sweating staff and uncomfortably hot customers!  Pay attention to your EMS alarms and address maintenance issues now.

 

February 27, 2017 / 0 Comments

Value Added: The hidden benefits of energy management

HiddenBenImg

We all know that implementing an energy management plan will reduce energy costs. Besides the impact of more cash on hand, opportunities for sustainability marketing and operational fluidity, how else can your restaurant benefit by investing in energy reduction? Did you know you could actually increase the value of your business in one year by simply installing an energy management system?

As a facility manager, any steps you take to reduce building operational costs look good.  Unless you’ve spent some time in the finance world, you may not be aware of just how much. A 10-percent reduction in money spent on any operating cost such as energy, maintenance or labor could increase your restaurant’s financial worth by 20 percent.

Sound too good to be true?

Read More

February 23, 2017 / 0 Comments

Are you Setting the Right Setpoints?

CantGetto68Setpoint deviations are the main cause for lack in energy savings. A cool setpoint of 68 in the kitchen will keep the temperature low and your employees happy, but that will also make the HVAC run at a higher demand and use more energy. Adjust the cool setpoint up to 74 and see how much energy you save.

4degreesSepMake sure your heating and cooling setpoints are not set too close to each other. If you have a heat setpoint of 68 and a cool setpoint of 70, that is a very small margin that the HVAC needs to maintain setpoint. Keep your cool and heat setpoints spread by at least 4 degrees.

February 21, 2017 / 0 Comments

Do you know your Peak Demand Hours?

seasons2

An EMS will automatically detect your peak demand hours during the day, and also from season to season.

An EMS automatically will impose demand limiting algorithms during those peak times can save you a lot of money.

You can use this data to potentially negotiate better rates with your utility company.

February 16, 2017 / 0 Comments

Announcing EVIA 3.0 Release

We’re proud to announce the release of EVIA 3.0, the newest restaurant energy management solution from Ektos!

EVIA applies the most efficient controls technology available today designed to control lighting, temperature and refrigeration in a restaurant to reduce overall energy consumption.

The system tracks and responds to electrical demand on an industry-standard platform that will expand and grow.multiple-devices

New Release Features:

  • Faster Hardware: Schneider Electric AS-P
  • Multiple Onsite Interface support
  • Upgraded Framework: Schneider Electric SmartStruxure 1.8

EVIA 3.0 Continues to Provide:

  • Demand Monitoring and Response
  • Multi-level Scheduling
  • Automated Lighting and Temperature Controls
  • Open for Integration and Monitoring of any Equipment
    • Smart Kitchen
    • Fire / Safety
    • Air Quality

EVIA 3.0 marks a continued improvement over previous energy management offerings.

Contact EKTOS to Learn More Today!

February 10, 2017 / 0 Comments

Are you heating or cooling more?

mapofUSheatcoolIf you’re in a southern state vs a northern state, you will have a much higher demand for cooling and the cooling performance will decrease a lot quicker over time than if you were in a northern state. The opposite goes for heating.

restaurantfloorplanheatcoolAn HVAC servicing the kitchen will have a much higher demand for cooling vs an HVAC servicing a dining area because you have more heat sources.

February 8, 2017 / 0 Comments

Before You Buy Your EMS

Reducing energy consumption at your restaurant requires more than the perfect solutions provider or energy management system. Being prepared to make the investment in your equipment, and knowing where the smartest investment is, will help you get the most out of the solutions available to you from EMS providers. Remember, equipment condition plays a large part in the success of your energy reduction!rtu

Energy management systems are designed to run your equipment more efficiently, but HVAC systems, lighting controls, and refrigeration equipment in poor condition will continue to waste energy. Take the time to understand how your equipment works, and make sure it is well maintained before investing in energy management solutions. You might be surprised how you can reduce your energy consumption by up to 10% before installing an EMS solution. Here are some important pieces to check:

  • HVAC
    • Filters
    • Belts
    • Duct Connections
    • Discharge Registers Condition and Location
    • Air Damper Setting
  • Walk-In Refrigeration
    • Door Seals
    • Ice Build-up

icon-05-investmentMost importantly, the savings achieved from well-maintained equipment don’t take away from the savings you get from energy management systems! EMS solutions are much more effective at reducing energy consumption when the controlled equipment is in good condition.

Well-maintained equipment, combined with the energy management power of EVIA, can shave up to 25% off your next electric bill.  For larger restaurants, this could add up to over $10,000 per year in savings per location!

February 6, 2017 / 0 Comments
Our classic Ektos energy bars tells owners and staff the restaurant is running efficiently.

Why energy management?

Installing energy management solutions is one of the most efficient ways to reduce energy consumption, reduce maintenance costs, and maintain equipment condition and life. Even if your HVAC units and lighting fixtures are new, and are energy efficient, they can still waste energy!

We hear these questions every day…

New equipment will save enough energy… right?

Consider this: you drive to work every day in a car with low mpg. If you buy a new car with high mpg, you will reduce the amount of gas you buy. This is like buying new HVAC or lighting equipment.

But what happens if the route you take to work can be improved? Energy management is like buying a GPS that calculates the quickest and shortest way to work. This may sound easy to do on your own, but now consider the coordination of 4 different HVAC units, 42 lighting circuits, refrigeration and kitchen equipment on a 24hr operating schedule!

Evia automates your equipment to run more efficiently, whether your equipment is new or old. Evia can even notify you when equipment performance starts to fall off, so you can find and fix problems before having to pay to replace broken equipment!

I bought the best HVAC units, do they still need EMS?

HVAC units are simply not designed for restaurants. We often hear complaints that even new units don’t cool enough in the kitchen, or blow very hot or cold air directly on customers.

Most stand-alone restaurants do not have Variable Air Volume (VAV) controllers or multiple sensors, which allow each vent to be controlled separately so 1 HVAC unit to control a large area with a targeted response. What this means for restaurants is 1 HVAC unit blows the same air temperature through every vent it is connected to, whether it’s above a dining table, the front door, the bar or the restrooms. This doesn’t sound too bad, but what happens if the only sensor is close to an exterior door, or large windows?

Evia can measure temperature from multiple locations within an area to balance the response. The system can also adjust the amount of heating, cooling or fan operation minutes for each unit. Our solutions are built specifically for the needs of restaurants, because HVAC equipment available today isn’t!

isn’t ems expensive?

Most of our customers are surprised by how affordable and profitable our solutions are. Most deployments achieve a 2 year payback, and can reduce energy costs between 10-20%. As an additional benefit, utility companies nationwide are offering generous rebate incentives for restaurants to install an energy management system — some up to 40% off.

After Evia has paid for itself, it continues to save energy and improve your bottom line. Many of our customers are still shaving $7,000-10,000 per year off their energy bills — more than 5 years after the system has paid for itself!

We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below on your thoughts on EMS.

 

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