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Rite Aid latest high-profile client for energy-cost manager Ecova

The drug-store chain will monitor energy bills and costs across more than 4,700 locations using Ecova's dashboard and analytics technology.

Hospitality company HEI has saved $1 million in energy costs working with Ecova.

This week, drug store chain Rite Aid became the latest high-profile client for Ecova, a provider of energy management technology and services that are used by almost 40 percent of the largest retailers in North America.

The company's value proposition is that it can help retail concerns and hospitality companies at least 10 percent in energy costs, simply by helping them get a better handle on what is being spent and where and how. I'll share more about one of its most successful long-term relationships in a moment, but first, the specifics of the Rite Aid deal.

The agreement provides for Spokane, Wash.-based Ecova to monitor energy consumption at about 4,700 Rite Aid pharmacy locations, with the intention of helping the company reduce power usage. The Ecova dashboard will provide analytics toward that end, helping identify best practices across the company and then working to help apply them across as many locations as appropriate.

Specifically, Ecova uses its software to monitor rates and help ensure that Rite Aid is getting the best deal possible from the utilities serving the company across all its territories. The information is provided to the Rite Aid energy management team in a dashboard format.

Said Paige Miller, senior manager of energy and environment at Rite Aid:

"The first step in better energy management is having a solid, tested and reliable data set about the amount and types of energy being used across the stores. Ecova brings a depth and breadth of experience, unique client focus and integrity to their work. Together, we'll be able to improve our cost savings and environmental footprint companywide."

Ecova claims about 600 companies as its current clients, including HEI, which is a hospitality company that manages 41 hotel properties across 16 states for brands including Marriott, Starwood and Hilton.

HEI Vice President Bob Holesko said that Ecova has been instrumental in helping his company keep its energy and utility spend to approximately $24 million per year over the past several years. That has been despite adding more hotels to the company's portfolio over that timeframe. Over the past five years, HEI has managed to cut approximately $1 million in utility expenses by using the Ecova technology platform to manage its purchases and to identify energy conservation opportunities.

"I don't need to go any farther than my corner office for the rationale behind this investment," Holesko said.

Ecova acts as the filter for all the different utility bills that HEI manages, between three and six for every single facility. The dashboard offers specific reports about those bills, providing some analysis of trends and pointing out opportunities for cost optimization. "Data does us no good, information is what we are looking for," Holesko said.

"Ecova's job is to disseminate the information. Our job is to turn that information into strategy," he added.

Ecova recently expanded its capabilities more deeply into building management with the November 2011 acquisition of Prenova, which has engineering resources in building control and metering. Prenova has more than 45,000 commercial and industrial buildings under management, including 7,500 that are monitored in real time through its software as a service (SaaS) technology. Prenova's strength lies in enabling its clients to monitor and control energy consumption, even if different building management systems are used across a company's real estate portfolio.

(Image of Algonquin Hotel courtesy of HEI)

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com