In 2016, Steven Kopf and his partner launched Palmetto Green aiming to pioneer projects in the energy efficiency, solar, and battery storage industries. The company sprouted from an itch of Steven to take his 17 years of experience in the energy sector into the project development world. With a focus on under-served markets such as hospitality, and the marriage of both technical and financial solutions, Palmetto Green set out to differentiate themselves from the “me-too” energy efficiency development companies.
With the goal of operating a vertically integrated entity, Palmetto Green began their energy efficiency efforts in lighting before moving onto other energy conversation measures. Due to their initial reliance on the pencil and paper method of auditing facilities, Palmetto Green ran into roadblocks and were able to conduct only 12 audits in a year hindered by a lack of communication between the auditor and other individuals working on the same project.
Seeking a solution to improve communication and streamline their retrofit activities, Palmetto Green was referred to SnapCount retrofit software by another company in 2017. Palmetto Green chose SnapCount as their retrofit solution based upon its ability to keep each retrofit project acutely organized, and because of the increase in speed and accuracy.
With a digitized and more streamlined retrofit process in hand, Palmetto Green was now confident in their ability to manage large, multi-site projects within their under-served target market. Palmetto Green was awarded a 100-facility energy efficiency project by Affinity Living Group in late 2017. Knowing that the communication and accuracy within a project of this magnitude would be difficult, Palmetto Green recognized that SnapCount would put them in a prime position to manage the thousands of fixtures and rooms in this multi-site project.
When the time came to assess Affinity Living Group facilities, Steven realized that many of the facilities began to look identical. While this would have caused considerable confusion auditing with the pencil and paper method, SnapCount enabled the Palmetto Green team to easily organize fixtures, their details and location within each facility.
Affinity Living Group needed Palmetto Green to move fast through each facility in order to achieve a 2-day audit to proposal requirement. The Palmetto Green team quickly came to rely on the precise data collection and as well as the efficient manner in which to generate a proposal and make changes on the fly. “SnapCount is allowing us to completely execute for Affinity Living Group, we are able to meet their expectations with quick response times and accurate data. We audited 4 buildings last week and they were all done by the end of the week. With SnapCount we know the numbers are correct and our confidence in the proposals is very high” said Steven Kopf.
With auditors having struggled with more rudimentary tools such as EcoInsight, MC Power searched for a more capable platform with a greater amount of functionality. MC Power searched for a retrofit software with the following requirements in mind:
· The ability to automatically match photos to a specific fixture and view the fixture environment
· Complete elimination of hand-written audits and Excel spreadsheets
· The capability to view all elements of a cost sheet (payback, margin, replacements, and labor) on one screen
· A method to calculate straight kWh savings versus demand savings on a proposal
· The ability to upload products and pricing to quickly propose solutions
· Customizable proposals and calculations within a proposal (i.e. labor rates)
Having encountered the SnapCount brand at a trade show, and after suggestions from colleagues, MC Power approached SnapCount in 2017 as a solution to remedy their retrofit inefficiencies. After a full evaluation and completing SnapCount’s “Quick Start” process, MC Power chose SnapCount as their preferred retrofit software due to its ability to complete and win more projects, as well as significantly reduce errors in their retrofit processes.
“With SnapCount, we’re definitely faster, definitely more accurate, and we definitely win more projects. The speed in which we can generate a proposal allows us to ‘strike while the iron is hot’. We can quickly crank out proposals that we’re confident are completely accurate. The training process with SnapCount was much more involved than with EcoInsight at my prior position, and I love the amount of updates and continued improvements that SnapCount is coming out with as we look towards expanding into additional ECM’s and more national account projects” said MC Power Auditor Becky J.
Replacing a messy, hand-written transcription process with SnapCount, Palmetto Green reduced their average proposal generation time from 4-6 hours to 1-2 hours.
Possessing enhanced ability in adhering to material constraints, Palmetto Green doubled their ability to manage twice as many projects.
Reaction to SnapCount
After implementing SnapCount in the Affinity Living Group retrofit project, Palmetto Green was thrilled with their accelerated method of developing projects. “It could take us weeks to transcribe our hand-written audits to an Excel spreadsheet and produce a proposal before SnapCount. It takes us 1-2 hours to produce the proposal now versus 4-6 hours before. With SnapCount, I conduct an audit, get dinner, and have the proposal done before my head hits the pillow. There’s no more double checking. The software is priceless and pays for itself quickly” said Kopf.
With the use of SnapCount, Palmetto Green received a boost in capacity, enabling them to manage twice as many projects. This was in part to more proactive management of project materials, a frequent issue in the retrofit industry. “The last thing you want to do is under or over order materials because of inaccurate numbers from your audits, especially with how long material orders take to process and deliver. SnapCount makes it easier for us to find any discrepancies or mistakes and get our projects done in a timely manner” said Kopf.
Of the lighting retrofit, Charlie Trefzger, CEO of Affinity Living Group stated, "As one of the largest operators of assisted living facilities in the country, we are acutely aware that resident safety and comfort is key to our continued growth. The lighting upgrades that Palmetto Green has done for us have not only completely delivered in that department but have produced buildings that perform better under every other relevant metric as well, including energy usage, financial management, and staff satisfaction and efficiency. I’ve been so impressed that we’ve asked them to replace the lighting in all of our 100-plus locations.”
AER and SnapCount - Energy Retrofit Efficiency