Summa Energy Solutions & Vitality Energy: Our Story… So Far.
Vitality Energy was originally formed as Summa Energy Solutions by my co-founder Christopher Atkins. Like most business ideas, Summa was born out of necessity. At the time Chris was working as a controls operator at the University of Utah.
The University of Utah had a recently completed an energy savings project that cost over $30,000,000 dollars with a national energy savings company. Due to the size of the project and the amount of money the University had invested, Chris was asked by his superiors to do an independent verification of the energy savings that was promised by the company.
It quickly became obvious to Chris that the data that he was being provided had a number of issues with it. The energy savings company was basically taking the energy costs of the University and dividing it up by the square feet of the buildings that were being worked on.
Being very interested in granular data, Chris felt like this was not an accurate representation of the data being consumed by each building. So, Chris went looking for a company that could help him get more granular data in real time. He quickly found that there were companies that could provide hardware and companies that could install the hardware as well as companies that provided energy dashboards but he could not find a company that would provide him a complete system. So, like any entrepreneur, Chris decided to do it himself. He spent the next couple of years installing meters throughout the University to get the data he wanted. During this same time he went to school and became a Certified Energy Manager.
Proof of Concept.
After a couple of years of creating a very comprehensive measurement and verification system for the University of Utah, Chris left the University to work for the State of Utah. After he left the University, the U hired Chris as a consultant to continue to perform the M&V that they needed.
It was why Chris was at the State of Utah that I met him. I was selling LED Lighting retrofits for a local electrical wholesale company when I met Chris. After become friends, Chris showed me what he was doing with the University of Utah as well as the State of Utah and we decided to form Summa Energy Solutions together.
As Summa, we went on to oversee the installation of over 2,000 meters across the United States in about 5 states. During this time we were focusing on designing, engineering, programming and commissioning power meters for our clients. After we got the meters installed we would introduce our customers to a number of dashboard companies to help display this data.
Although, these companies gave our customer a very good looking product, it became clear that most of our customers were looking for something different, the problem was that most of the software displayed the data but very few had any relevant analytics that could really help companies save money.
Birth of Vitality
After a number of our customers asked us for a solution, we finally decided to build our own platform. Our software platform was called “Vitality” because we knew it could give our customer vital energy information.
As Vitality grew something strange started happening. After we got the data to our customers and the software displaying the data for them, our customers started asking. “Now What?”
This became something we wanted to help with, we tried by introducing our customers to 3rd party vendors such as LED installers or Solar companies but it became clear that what our customers really wanted was an energy advocate that they could go over the data with and watch it for them.
The Need for Energy Management
We started consulting for our customers. We would look at the data being provided and start making
recommendations based off of our years of energy management experience. This quickly evolved into a big part of our business and it is is something we love to do.
Out of this evolution Virtual Energy Managers were born.
Now, we work with companies all across the nation to bring transparency to their energy costs.
If you look at a utility bill such as power, what does it tell you? It tells you what happened, not when it happened or why it happened.
Most companies get their utility bills, they look at it and think “that sucks” and then they submit theinvoice for payments. Few have the resources or the ability to do anything about them. This is where Virtual Energy Managers help the most.
- First, we start by getting all of the energy data. This is done by sending out a meter that is installed as close to the buildings Main Distribution Panel as possible.
- Second, we then connect all of the utility bills to the Vitality web platform where monthly utility data can be analyzed and processed.
- Third we each of our customers are assigned and personal Virtual Energy Manager that oversees their energy costs and consumption. After about a six week on-boarding period where our Energy Managers gather all necessary data such as square foot, building schedules and equipment information, our energy managers can begin to recommend energy conservation measures.
This is where the energy savings begins. Typically our process can help save companies between 20% and 30% on their energy related costs.
We are excited about this transition and look forward to continuing to support our customers now and into the future!