“Six years ago, sustainability was a very new concept,” says JadeTrack CEO & Co-Founder Ryan Prestel.
Sustainability was just a box to be checked. Now businesses are taking a second look.
“People are starting to realize these practices are prudent business,” Prestel says. “They realize that sustainability has a proven ROI, and there are financial, social and environmental reasons to do these things.”
For six years, JadeTrack has been helping businesses manage their energy and sustainability practices with a suite of software solutions.
“The idea came from watching a big company struggle with a real problem,” Prestel says.
In 2010 while he was working at Scott’s, the lawncare giant set out to become a leader in sustainability. But what did sustainability mean? Prestel says after much research and many consultants, there still wasn’t a strong technology recommendation about where to begin.
Prestel saw an opportunity. He knew Excel spreadsheets or an out-of-the box solution wouldn’t work for a company like Scott’s. He had a question, “I have an idea, will you let me run with it?”
Given the go ahead, Prestel brought on his co-founder with whom he was working on another business. A prototype was built – a prototype that would morph into JadeTrack. With an agreement to use the software at a discounted rate, and a deal to keep the intellectual property, JadeTrack spun out and had its first customer in Scott’s in 2011.
“It solved a very specific need: how does a company publish an annual sustainability report?” Prestel says. “Well, you need data to do that, so that’s what they facilitated. The gathering, the normalization and the reporting, of all this data from an enterprise that had a global footprint.”
JadeTrack’s second customer continued to shape their software. While Scott’s required a very manual, time-consuming process, with tasks like collecting and entering utility bills, Dublin City Schools opened up the world of real-time data.
“If we can automate and make this more of a real time type of tool, then you’re going to create more engagement, you’re going to create more impact, and you’re going to create more results – results, again, financially, socially or environmentally,” Prestel says.
JadeTrack wants to be the single source of information for a company’s energy and sustainability programs, offering three main solutions to “track, manage, save.”
Data management tools automate utility bill collection, gathering disparate data from multiple sources into one place.
JadeTrack also offers benchmarking. “People want to know, ‘How am I performing in my own portfolio, as well as the portfolio that consists of other like-kind buildings across the country?'” Prestel says.
Finally, real-time monitoring identifies what’s happening now in a building, and creates the ability to reduce costs by avoiding problems by catching them as they happen. Prestel gives an example of a school that had a malfunctioning dishwasher.
Because there was a normal use profile for the building, “We were able to identify the day that it happened that there was something abnormal that was going on,” he says.
JadeTrack alerted the custodial staff who then walked the facility with information that they should be looking out for a piece of equipment that used a specific amount of energy. They found the dishwasher and had it fixed within a few weeks, instead of waiting for the surprise utility bill that was hundreds of dollars higher than it should have been.
JadeTrack primarily works with two veins of customer: organizations that manage and operate multiple buildings, or organizations that have a strong social component to their business. No matter the organization’s goals, Prestel always recommends starting in the same place – maximizing what systems they have already and then looking at other investments. Businesses need to look at sustainability holistically – not just by gravitating towards a “shiny object.”
He expects that more business will continue to examine their sustainability, with financial benefits alone driving decision making. And, JadeTrack could see even more opportunity in Columbus with the implementation of the Smart Cities grant. They already do real-time monitoring for City Hall, the police station and the Beacon Building, and do all the reporting for Greenspot. As “everything needs energy” JadeTrack is having discussions with the city about how their services could be instrumental for reporting.
For more information, visit jadetrack.com.