PlugSmarts Creates Energy-Efficient Solutions for Businesses

Everyone would love to save a little money on their utility bills, but imagine the overwhelming utilities necessary to run a school or a hospital. One Columbus-based company is offering a unique set of services to help companies be more energy efficient.

PlugSmart knows energy. From helping clients self-generate their power to monitoring utility bills, PlugSmart can help a company save money through implementing energy-efficient projects and programs.

PlugSmart’s client base consists mostly of non-profits, including several educational institutions. The company is also a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned small business. This status qualifies PlugSmart for federal projects that have included extensive work on VA Hospitals.

Four service pillars define PlugSmart’s offerings.

The first pillar is energy projects. These projects focus on, “Any piece of infrastructure in a building that you can improve on to reduce electrical and gas consumption,” says PlugSmart President David Zehala. The money saved in energy costs self-finances the project. PlugSmart has implemented energy projects ranging anywhere from a few thousand dollars to $20 million.

The next set of services are for, “A client that wants to self-generate power,” Zehala says. PlugSmart helps clients design, build and operate self-generating means of power, including solar and wind technology. Another example is of a steel mill re-purposing the massive heat created through their processes.

PlugSmart also partners with clients to perform energy consulting. They help clients that have unique energy challenges. Services under this pillar include evaluating structures for efficiency, completing energy audits or assessments, and verifying other information as it relates to utilities.

As their fourth area of expertise, PlugSmart provides energy services. This covers activities like utility bill tracking, remotely connecting to a client’s energy management system to make sure it’s operating correctly and system maintenance. Energy Services focus on recurring needs and are not just one-off projects.

Since 2008, the company has expanded to around 30 employees. Their rapid growth landed PlugSmart on the Inc.5000 list of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.  Zehala sees three key points that contribute to their exponential success – demand, the self-financing nature of the work and the PlugSmart team.

“There is demand in the marketplace for the kinds of services we offer,” Zehala says. Consumers are always interested in reducing costs, which is the ultimate goal of PlugSmart’s work.

PlugSmart aims to reduce costs by 35 to 40 percent. Which leads to their second advantage in the market – companies are able to self-finance projects through the savings on utility bills or  by self-generating power.

However, none of the projects would be possible without the PlugSmart team. Zehala describes their employees as a solid, cross-functional group. He also says they have been fortunate to hire, mentor and train some young engineers.

PlugSmart employs mostly energy engineers, project managers and individuals that can help a company with funding. They subcontract all of the project labor, keeping overhead costs low.

TechColumbus has played an instrumental role in PlugSmart’s growth and development. The company has been housed at the TechColumbus facilities for three years. Networking around the region with connections from the group helped to build credibility and spread the company name. Having several business in one location also provided a group of CEOs and masterminds to share ideas with.

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