Cleantech
Schneider Electric Helping MBTA Drive Energy Savings

Schneider Electric, global specialist in energy management and automation, today announced it’s working with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA — aka “the T”) to cut utility bills and carbon emissions tied to public transportation in the greater Boston area. Together, the organizations will develop a comprehensive energy management plan and implement technology to help the MBTA reach its goal of reducing energy costs 12 percent next year.

The fifth-largest transit agency in the nation, the MBTA operates bus, subway, railway and ferry routes in and around Boston metro, serving more than 1.35 million riders a day. The amount of power required to run such an extensive operation makes the authority the largest consumer of electricity in Massachusetts. The MBTA currently spends more than $48 million annually on utilities and uses enough electricity to power 50,000 homes.

“Energy-saving opportunities are everywhere. But for sizeable organizations such as the T, the challenge is finding those with the greatest return and moving in a coordinated fashion,” said Steve Wilhite, SVP of Energy and Sustainability Services at Schneider Electric. “How do you know if the Boylston station is using 15 percent more energy than other, similar subway stops? And what do you do? It takes a system-wide view and the ability to turn data into action.”

Through the partnership, the MBTA will use Schneider Electric’s cloud-based Resource Advisor to visualize, measure and manage efficiency and sustainability initiatives across its entire footprint — in one single interface. The software will compile and track data from up to 218 energy meters across 45 sites to start. This includes the analysis of both utility and interval data to identify trends, allocate spend and pinpoint efficiency measures to deliver savings.

The MBTA will leverage the Performance Analytics Module within Resource Advisor to gain a complete view of all consumption-related interval data streams in near-real time. Analytics captured within this module will help the MBTA to:

  • Benchmark site performance across its portfolio
  • Identify non-optimized stations, equipment and behavioral inefficiencies
  • Monitor and control consumption to identify anomalies
  • Prioritize energy-efficiency projects and validate ROI

The work marks the start of a long-term collaboration that will form the cornerstone of a comprehensive energy-management strategy for the MBTA. The full scope will include aggregating main utility meters and submeters — to get a granular view of where and when energy is used — developing sustainability and renewable energy plans, optimizing utility purchasing, and tracking and improving building performance using tools such as the Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

All of the activity and data will flow through Resource Advisor for unified access to information and metrics. This will ultimately allow the MBTA to proactively manage energy use to reduce consumption and save money.

In other Schneider Electric news, last month the company launched a Silicon Valley Innovation program designed to scout and develop startups focused on applications related to the intersection of energy and the Internet of Things (IoT). The first phase of the program will identify and develop 10 startup companies by the fourth quarter of 2016, three of which have already been selected: Digital Lumens, maker of smart, connected sensors and LED lighting expected to help customers reduce lighting-related energy costs by up to 90 percent; PlanetEcosystems Inc., whose services offer highly personalized customer experiences that enable extensive customer control of home equipment; and OhmConnect, whose software interface allows consumers to receive payments from energy markets for saving energy during peak times.

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