Department Of Veterans Affairs Uses SaaS To Go Green

Defining an energy efficiency strategy can be challenging for big organizations with multiple large buildings. The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that it has installed energy analysis SPARC520 equipment for its Washington, D.C. headquarters.

SPARC, based in Charleston, South Carolina, has a diverse portfolio of products that includes human resources tools for employee engagement and interviewing optimization, as well as an open source private app store solution. Its SPARC520 product, named after the light spectrum wavelength at which the human eye sees green, provides real-time energy usage data monitoring, analysis and forecasting. The company employs close to 200 people, most of whom are software engineers.

“Our goal as a company is to use our talents as software product developers to solve things that suck,” said CEO Eric Bowman.

At the VA’s 11-floor headquarters, SPARC520 installed 107 clamp devices that monitor the building’s electricity, water and natural gas usage. Each clamp goes over the top of a wire to measure flow-through and has 27 data collection points, providing a total of 2,889 data collection points throughout the building. This data is fed to SPARC520’s analytics platform, where real-time energy usage can be viewed on the web or on an iOS device.

In addition to real-time data, SPARC520 offers forecasting based on current and historical data, mapping out various scenarios that make it clear which adjustments will have the greatest energy-saving impact.

There’s also an element of gamification built in, allowing employees to compete against each other to reduce energy usage. When SPARC implemented this in their own building, they saw energy costs decrease by 75%, Bowman said. So far, SPARC520 said they’ve identified over $3.5 million in potential energy savings over 5 years at the VA headquarters.