Just a few years ago, if we told you that, for the price of a programmable commercial thermostat, you could buy and install a cloud Energy Management System (EMS) for an HVAC unit, and save big-time on repair and energy costs by doing so, you probably wouldn’t believe us.

You’d be right, because just a few years ago, cloud EMS for HVAC was too pricey for most retailers with stores under 20,000 square feet to consider. But as technology has evolved, HVAC cloud EMS has evolved as well, and costs have dropped significantly. Now, it’s well within reach for nearly any retail location – again, for about the cost of a programmable thermostat.

Just because something is affordable doesn’t mean you should necessarily buy it. So why is this really important to someone with hundreds or even thousands of retail stores? Two reasons: repair and replacement savings and energy savings.

First, consider repair and replacement. HVAC cloud EMS is designed primarily to signal you when a unit is not performing as it should. This is absolutely critical, because with HVAC, problems can stay hidden for days, even weeks, until breakdowns finally occur. By knowing about issues early on, you can proactively address those issues upstream before they become all-out catastrophes. By being proactive, you can schedule service ahead of time and pay normal service rates, rather than emergency rates. HVAC cloud EMS also saves energy by not overtaxing the unit or units, and it ensures efficient unit operation.

For example, a typical 3,000 square-foot mall store has two HVAC units that collectively keep the store’s ambient temperature at 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Since there are two units, you can’t really tell if one unit starts to fail, so long as the other unit picks up the slack. As long as the store stays at 70 degrees, everyone’s happy.

Let’s say this goes on for two weeks. The malfunctioning unit – we’ll call it Unit 1 – isn’t blowing cold air at all, and it’s running non-stop. Unit 2 picks up the slack, which means it’s running more than Unit 1 ever did. Finally, Unit 1 fails – it’s simply not meant to run that long and hard, so perhaps the compressor blows, or the belt breaks. Either way, it’s a disaster. Now, the store starts heating up, customers leave, the manager calls for emergency service, a technician arrives, he issues an invoice for emergency service and draws up an estimate for several thousand dollars in repair costs.

Fast math tells the rest of the story. A typical emergency call costs between $750-$800 – and that by itself doesn’t fix the problem – it just pays for the analysis of the problem.. Depending on the nature of the problem, you could then face several thousand dollars in repair or replacement costs.

Many situations like this can be prevented with HVAC cloud EMS. As soon as the system on Unit 1 detects a deviation from standard performance, it sends an alert to you. Now, instead of being reactive, you can be proactive by calling your service technician and scheduling a regular appointment for some time later that week. There’s no panic, because the store remains comfortable, and the unit hasn’t blown up yet. As a result, that regular service call costs, on average, $450 – a significant savings over the $750-$800 emergency call. Not to mention the regular service call may in fact fix the problem, before it turns into a very expensive one

Bottom line: You’ve paid for the HVAC cloud EMS equipment on one HVAC unit by skipping one emergency call.

Finally, consider the energy savings from HVAC cloud EMS. These affordable systems allow you to create profiles, and customize temperatures and timings for each profile. As an example, you can make all of your Florida stores one group and set temps and timing accordingly. How many managers or store employees actually set the thermostat back every night when they lock up?  You can decide when to roll back the thermostat by group, and insure the energy savings for your company. Of course, you can monitor and change settings anywhere, anytime using a mobile device.

HVAC cloud EMS is a win-win, we believe, offering great features and benefits at an extremely affordable price. Next time, we’ll take a closer look at how the HVAC cloud EMS solution we sell works for retailers. Until then, if you want to learn more about CLS’s cloud EMS, or all other CLS services, please call us at 800-548-3542.