Energy savings by the numbers

How a tablet app helps Elevations Credit Union reduce its electric bills.

by: Karen Bankston

Many people use tablet computers to chat with friends or check Fantasy Football scores. Sam Cohen uses his to monitor electrical usage at Elevations Credit Union facilities.

His tablet accesses an online dashboard from Power Takeoff, which currently monitors eight meters in four of the credit union’s 17 properties. The dashboard supports both long-term goals to improve energy efficiency, by supplying detailed data on monthly electrical consumption, and ongoing efforts to reduce utility costs, by reporting usage in 15-minute intervals so facilities staff can take quick action to hold down peak demand charges, says Cohen, AVP/facilities for the $1.5 billion Boulder, Colo., credit union with 105,000 members.

The credit union will implement additional Power Takeoff capabilities in 2015, including notification and control features. Example: “At 8:30 in the evening, I might get an alert that an air conditioning unit has kicked in, and I could turn it off from home,” he says.

Since launching the energy dashboard, Elevations CU’s electrical bills for May and June 2014 declined 10 percent in usage and 8 percent in demand charges from 2013. This initiative is just one improvement that has helped the credit union reduce energy use even as the facility space it owns has doubled in the last five years. Over that time, electrical use at its 60,000-square-foot main office has decreased by more than 3 million kilowatt hours. Major changes include more efficient air conditioning units, new HVAC controls, and lighting retrofits and automation.

These improvements have boosted the headquarters’ Energy Star rating from 56 in 2005 to 76 this fall, putting the credit union on par to achieve certification through the program this year.

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