Introducing the SPARK Awards Finalists
The nominations are in for the 2019 SPARK Awards. Who made it to the top of the list? Here’s a first look.
New to SPARK this year, the SPARK Awards recognize industry leaders who are utilizing utility data in new and innovative ways to generate a positive impact on clients, consumers, and the global community.
The competition was fierce, so before we release the final winners, we wanted to give a shoutout to all the nominees who stood out. Without further ado, we’re excited to announce the top contenders for the 2019 SPARK Awards.
Leader in energy and sustainability
The SPARK Award for Leader in Energy and Sustainability will be awarded to an organization enabling large-scale progress against energy efficiency and sustainability goals, through accurate and timely data management. Three companies fought their way to the top of the pack:
Siemens is a leading supplier of power generation systems and energy efficiency technologies. By partnering with Urjanet to acquire complete, accurate, and timely utility data, Siemens creates value for customers across the globe in the form of cost savings, tariff analysis, energy procurement, and more.
“Siemens is widely recognized as a global powerhouse,” said 2019 SPARK Awards judge Marilyn Brown, Nobel laureate and Director of the Climate and Energy Policy Lab at Georgia Tech.
AvidXchange is a leader in AP automation and utility bill management software. By providing clients with historical and current utility usage data, AvidXchange empowers businesses to easily identify areas of over-usage, address gaps in efficiency, and better forecast for the future.
AvidXchange’s impact on global energy and sustainability initiatives is undeniable, helping 300 large commercial organizations across the U.S. stabilize and reduce energy usage, as well as companies in 14 states streamline energy procurement. Additionally, automation is at the core of its business, helping clients go paper-free and stress-free.
Weir Group works with customers to engineer solutions that improve safety, efficiency, and sustainability. In their nomination, the team gave Amy Braddick special recognition for her work as Group Sustainability Reporting Manager. In less than a year, she implemented a bottom-up rebuild of the group’s GHG data collection processes and tools.
Replacing a legacy system with a dual partnership of Urjanet’s Utility Data Platform and Cotopaxi’s Strata system, Weir Group automated data capture and usage alerts, changing the focus from reporting to supporting actionable efforts to reduce GHG emissions across 300+ sites in over 70 countries.
“Delivering a project of this scale in this timeframe has created a new wave of engagement in sustainability across the organization.”
“Delivering a project of this scale in this timeframe has taken a huge amount of personal effort from Amy…and has created a new wave of engagement in sustainability across the organization,” said Paula Cousins, Group Head of Strategy and Sustainability at Weir Group.
Leader in community engagement
A Leader in Community Engagement is an organization that goes above and beyond to expand renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives to the greater community. These three organizations showed exemplary efforts to do so:
Since 1982, EnergyCAP, Inc. has helped more than 10,000 energy managers in government, education, and commercial organizations derive value from their utility bills and energy data. The latest version of EnergyCAP software includes highly innovative functionality for managing and processing chargebacks, improving energy accounting and data visibility for local communities and, ultimately, the global environment.
The chargeback capability has helped Riverside County in California accurately calculate ROI for solar investments, enabling county staff to justify future installations and deliver more clean energy to residents. When the county used EnergyCAP to accurately calculate and allocate savings from a $55 million, 12MW installation, it resulted in savings of more than $710,000 and an ROI of 601 percent.
Bright Power + Building Energy Exchange
Bright Power is a premier provider of energy and water management services for real estate owners, investors, and operators. Together with the Building Energy Exchange, Bright Power analyzed nearly 16,000 datasets from local building energy audits, breaking them down into actionable recommendations.
The study found that implementing recommended efficiency retrofits would immediately reduce multifamily energy use in NYC by 11 percent and have a simple payback of less than six years. With a greenhouse gas emissions law looming, this report makes it clear that building owners can reduce their emissions, improve the performance of their buildings, and mitigate climate change.
Sustainable Tulsa + THG Energy Solutions
It’s not often that Oklahomans play a leadership role in national sustainability efforts, but one organization is leading the charge. Partnering with data service provider THG Energy Solutions, Sustainable Tulsa created a business Scor3card program: an interactive tool helping businesses across the local community organize sustainability efforts, reporting, and continuous improvement.
“We have saved four million kWh and reduced peak demand by 900 kW in the last 12 months.”
“We have saved four million kWh and reduced peak demand by 900 kW in the last 12 months,” said David King, Scor3card participant and Director of Energy Management for Oral Roberts University and CityPlex Towers. “The only way to keep this many invoices manageable is to have them organized the way THG Energy Solutions does it. As an army of one, this has been a huge time saver and reporting tool for executive management.”
Leader in financial inclusion
Several nominees for Leader in Financial Inclusion at the 2019 SPARK Awards are blazing the trail to expand credit access to millions of unbanked and underbanked worldwide. Let’s take a look at the finalists.
eCredable is the first credit reporting agency to enable small business owners with the ability to build or enhance their business credit scores using phone, internet and utility bills. eCredable works with Urjanet to automate the collection of user-permissioned utility, phone, and internet bill data, generating scalable growth.
For startups and young companies, lenders often rely on the owner’s personal credit due to a lack of business credit history. To transition away from this risky scenario, eCredable is helping small business owners build credit with the bills they already pay, updating business credit bureaus more than 1,000 times to date.
Credit data can be incredibly empowering or emasculating, depending on the existence and quality of the data. That’s why Guppy has built an innovative and unique platform to enable consumers and small businesses to build and own their data profile. As part of this effort, Guppy has partnered with Urjanet to enable greater access to financial services for consumers and background and ID checks for businesses, through user-permissioned utility data access.
“Guppy’s use of Urjanet gives it a clear advantage over others in the market.”
“Guppy’s use of Urjanet gives it a clear advantage over others in the market,” said Tommy Marshall, 2019 SPARK Awards judge and Interim Director of Fintech Catalyst at ATDC.
Most innovative use of utility data
Finally, the SPARK Award for Most Innovative Use of Utility Data will go to an organization transforming the use of utility data, to address new markets and generate a positive impact. The top three finalists are:
Bright Power + Affordable Community Energy Services Company
Mercy Housing partnered with Bright Power and Affordable Community Energy Services Company (ACE) to help upgrade around 80 properties, representing the majority of their California portfolio. Through the ongoing collaboration, Mercy Housing is able to utilize ACE’s innovative “Pay from Savings” financing model to complete efficiency improvements when they are needed most, rather than waiting for refinancing or taking out a secondary loan.
To date, the turnkey efficiency improvements installed have enabled:
- 29% gas usage reduction
- 9% electric usage reduction
- 4% water usage reduction
- 7% carbon emissions reduction
SimpleBills’ innovative model provides multifamily and student residents with access to utility information, such as month-over-month consumption and cost, while still leaving utilities in the property’s name. With SimpleBills, residents can make informed decisions about their lifestyle to conserve energy, reduce consumption, and save money.
Using the same access to utility bill data, SimpleBills has also launched a credit reporting service. Residents who pay their utility bills through SimpleBills can opt in to the service for a small monthly fee, and SimpleBills will report their payment history to credit bureaus. Through the power of one organization, residents can get their bills paid on time, learn how to save energy, and build positive credit.
EnergyPrint’s core value is to deliver accurate, meaningful data that guides smart decision-making around building performance. In 2017, EnergyPrint expanded its services to include Insights Architect™, a new business intelligence solution aimed at helping customers uncover stories hidden in utility data.
EnergyPrint customer TDIndustries has already benefited from the innovative system. Both TDIndustries and its school district client were overloaded with manually sorting through utility data for more than 45 buildings. Bringing in EnergyPrint enabled TDIndustries to streamline utility data collection and replace their portfolio report with an intuitive, credible, and useful Insights Architect presentation.
Want to find out who took first place in the 2019 SPARK Awards? Join us at the closing ceremonies of SPARK 2019 on April 25th. We’ll also be announcing the winners in a press statement the following week.
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- SPARK 2017 Recap: The Future of Energy & Sustainability
- Bright Power CEO Named to Crain’s 40 Under 40
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About Amy Hou
Amy Hou is a Marketing Manager at Urjanet, overseeing content and communications. She enjoys writing about the latest industry updates in sustainability, energy efficiency, and data innovation.