A small Israeli startup’s software is being installed in water chiller systems of some of the world’s largest buildings.
If you never heard of a water chiller, you may be surprised to learn that these coiled systems – essentially giant refrigerators that cool large buildings – consume a high percentage of all the electricity used in the energy-intensive task of air-conditioning commercial and industrial buildings worldwide.
That’s not only a major environmental load, but a financial one as well.
The annual cost of cooling the Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv City Center, for example, was $150,000. The hotel slashed this bill by $50,000 after installing the Chiller Smart Management System (CSMS) from the Israeli company Elencon Systems.
Elencon CEO Dave Waimann has heard that the chiller bills run up by the mega hotels in Las Vegas reach into the millions, and hopes to help them save money too.
This dream is surprisingly within reach for Elencon, a seven-employee firm founded in 2012 by Izidor and Tamara Liberman, a husband-and-wife team formerly with energy-efficiency software company Comverge.
Nurtured in the Horizon Greentech Ventures incubator, Elencon already operates seven installations in Israel — including the Crowne Plaza, a hospital, office buildings and the Holon Institute of Technology — collectively saving around $180,000 on cooling costs each year.
Installations in US, Europe, Asia
The rapidly expanding company signed an agreement with North Carolina-based Magellan, a consortium of HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) installers and distributors across the United States,to install its software in more than 100 sites.
The company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with France-based GE Grid, a unit of General Electric, on a long-term collaboration to incorporate CSMS in GE’s smart-grid software package for electrical utilities.
Elencon is also in discussions with large shopping mall developers in Shanghai, Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta, and will soon begin a trial in England for its sister product that makes gas boilers about 10% more efficient.
With small teams for development in Tel Mond and marketing in Jerusalem, Elencon plans to open offices in the United States and London this year and has raised half a million dollars from French angel investors in a $1 million financing round.
“The most important set of technologies to reduce greenhouse gases is efficiency, and within that story, Elencon has worldwide potential to be the most energy-efficient technology out there,” Waimann tells ISRAEL21c. “We think we have the ideal solution.”
Smart tech lowers peak demand
Waimann explains that HVAC accounts for the biggest slice of the energy pie worldwide. While heating can be accomplished with alternative energy, however, cooling can be done only by electricity.
“A lot of the new power stations around the world are specifically built to provide cooling,” he says.
Methods to boost efficiency are therefore in great demand to cut down on the resulting costs and carbon dioxide pollution.
Waimann says the cost of electricity generation is highest during hours of peak consumption, so utilities try to offer incentives to discourage usage at those times.
The CSMS system accomplishes this by analyzing real-time dynamic electricity price, weather and location in order to predict the optimal conditions for the next hour and switching off chillers accordingly — without sacrificing the comfort of people inside the buildings.
“There are lots of technologies out there in energy efficiency, but there is no technology like ours, saving 25% to 35% on chiller loads,” says Waimann.
The intelligent software and service can be installed retroactively in standard chiller systems without disruption, and perhaps best of all for clients is Elencon’s “shared savings” business model.
“We install and operate the system at our cost. We then use meter data and utility bills to keep you fully informed of the money you’ve saved on your electric bill and our fee, which is entirely based on a percent of that savings. In other words, we assume the risk. If you don’t save money, we don’t get paid.”
Elencon further maximizes savings by enrolling its clients in local energy and capacity markets and pursuing any local utility rebates or incentives available in the target market.
Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel 21c)
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