A good example of using data to recognize a potential vulnerability, working with partners to identify an appropriate technical solution, and implementing the solution at scale to drive significant environmental and economic savings. It should set an example for others to follow.
Arby’s, one of the largest quick-service sandwich chains in the United States, sought to implement a comprehensive, irrigation management program as part of its leadership efforts around energy and water efficiency. The company chose Powerhouse Dynamics and Weathermatic, technology providers in energy management and smart irrigation, along with the energy and sustainability management services provider Ecova to implement an integrated solution.
With water prices across the portfolio increasing at 8% annually, Arby’s identified a need to actively manage water consumption. However, Arby’s was challenged to manage consumption with minimal insight into usage or control of irrigation usage, typically managed by outside landscapers.
Ecova audited five Arby’s sites to identify opportunities for water consumption and cost reduction, and discovered opportunities for low-cost efficiencies. Increased expenses and concerns around water also expanded the focus to irrigation controls since irrigation generates 40% of Arby’s total water consumption on average.
In addition, through discussions with restaurant management, Arby’s recognized the need to offer a single online platform to monitor and manage their sites rather than multiple platforms. Arby’s brought Weathermatic, Powerhouse and Ecova together to identify a solution to actively manage irrigation usage in a single user-friendly system.
In 2015, Arby’s integrated the Weathermatic irrigation control system into its existing energy management system called SiteSage. Weathermatic is a connected system that offers an online platform to monitor and manage the irrigation system. SiteSage is an asset and energy management platform developed by Powerhouse Dynamics that Arby’s had already implemented across its more than 1,000 company-owned sites. The ultimate goal was to integrate the Weathermatic system into the SiteSage platform for one view into energy and water data for the benefit of all companies.
Arby’s strategic energy management advisor Ecova worked together with Weathermatic and Powerhouse to identify key data to bring into SiteSage from the Weathermatic system. Then Weathermatic and Powerhouse coordinated to make it happen. The resulting solution combined energy, asset, and water management that had not been available prior to this project. The combined offering improves operating efficiencies, and controls water and energy consumption.
Through the project, Arby’s successfully reduced energy by over 15% before the end of 2015, exceeding the original energy reduction goal. The project saved water as well. The initial 85-site pilot with Weathermatic and Powerhouse Dynamics saved 7.4 million gallons of water through the six-month duration of the pilot — enough water to fill more than 11 Olympic-sized pools. Pilot sites saw a 40 to 70% reduction in irrigation, which equates to a total water reduction of 25% per site on average. This savings equaled an average of $1,150 per site annually in sewer and water charges.