Small Business Workshops


Five Minutes of Your Time: No-cost Tool Helps Small Businesses Manage Utility Costs

A no-cost web-based energy monitoring tool developed at Oxford University is debuting in California, and it could help Sierra Nevada small businesses and local governments take control of their energy bills.
“When you receive an energy bill at the end of the month, it’s hard to know where you are actually spending money. This tool not only helps you identify your energy patterns, it gives you specific recommendations, many of them at no or low-cost, for reducing energy use,” explains Betony Jones, co-founder of Fourth Sector Strategies, a sustainability business piloting the software in partnership with Sierra Business Council. “With the new smart meters that allow utilities to implement time-of-use pricing, now is the time for you take control of your energy use.”

SMEasure, which stands for Savings by Monitoring Energy, is a tool that allows business owners and facility managers to monitor and analyze their building's performance and target the most effective strategies to reduce energy use. Using meter data that is entered weekly through a simple upload, SMEasure processes local weather data to determine how a building performs during heat and cold and helps identify problems with your heating and cooling systems. With SMEasure, businesses and local governments can monitor their buildings' energy use, develop a strategy to save energy and money, track the effectiveness of energy efficiency upgrades, and compare building performance to similar buildings in the area.
“PG&E is excited to work with the Sierra Business Council to gauge the impact of energy usage information on customers’ conservation efforts,” said Lisa McNally, senior program manager for PG&E’s Innovator Pilots program. “This new tool provides yet another opportunity to provide customers with tailored energy solutions across Sierra communities.”

SMEasure is offered to California businesses and municipalities through 2012. Customers can plan to spend only five minutes per week uploading and reviewing their data, and advanced support will be provided for users in the Sierra Nevada area served by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).
“One huge benefit for users in the Sierra Nevada is the link to programs, rebates, and resources that can help you upgrade your facility,” explains Emma Ingebretsen, energy associate for the Sierra Nevada Energy Watch.
This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The software pilot is implemented by Sierra Nevada Energy Watch, which additionally provides audits, installations, and financial incentives for upgrading equipment like lighting and refrigeration.
For more information or to enroll, visit or call Sierra Business Council at 530-582-4800.

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