Case Study

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Movie Theater Chain

How Encycle helped a movie theater chain gain control of energy loads, reducing total energy spend by $35,361 per year

A movie theater customer expanded their operations to eight facilities across New Mexico and California. With higher than average national outdoor temperatures, the HVAC systems at these facilities need to work extra hard to keep patrons comfortable. Finding ways to reduce peak energy demand and implement load-limiting technologies were necessary to reduce energy costs and consumption. Like most entertainment venues, these theater sites presented opportunities for Encycle’s unique IoT-enabled technologies to unlock new energy savings.


Client Challenge

A. Reduce peak energy demand without affecting interior temperatures
B. Reduce resources spent on calculating and implementing load limiting techniques
C. Perform demand response more elegantly
D. Access load-level data

Swarm Logic® Solution

During hot summer days, moviegoers expect cool surroundings as a refuge from the heat outside. The wide variety of demands placed on an HVAC system presents several challenges for maintaining temperatures. Late-morning opening hours cause HVAC equipment to work extra hard just to bring auditoriums and atriums to desired temperatures. As theaters approach maximum occupancy, a highly responsive control system is needed to accommodate big swings in cooling demand while maintaining comfort. And even with proper venting, projection rooms can have tremendous heat loads due to projector lamps.

Encycle’s deep understanding of the unique energy efficiency factors of movie theater facilities helped this customer reduce excessive peak demand and energy consumption. Leveraging the HVAC synchronization and control capabilities of our Swarm Logic cloud-based solution, a staggered startup function allowed cooling to occur gradually rather than forcing all rooftop units (RTUs) to work all at once at the start of the day. During peak demand hours, Swarm Logic enabled the facilities’ RTUs to operate as a networked system, responding more efficiently to changing conditions such as outdoor temperature and building occupancy, thereby apportioning energy consumption more logically. With Encycle’s guidance, the customer also enrolled their facilities in three energy companies’ demand response (DR) programs and then used Swarm Logic to simplify DR tasks.

The Numbers

26 kW Average monthly peak kW reduction per site
53,012 kWh Average annual kW reduction per site
15% Average monthly demand reduction per site
$70,722 Total portfolio savings since 2011

“Encycle’s solution maintains comfort nicely even during hot California summer afternoons.”
Allan G.
Facilities Manager

The Results

A benefit for the movie theater chain that was immediately felt by the busy facilities manager was the newfound ability to view and control loads across the company’s entire portfolio, all from a single platform. With movie schedules changing weekly, scheduling had to be fast and easy. Having integrated seamlessly with a variety of building automation systems, the Swarm Logic technology delivered on this requirement.

The system also prevented overriding of the thermostats, effectively locking out unauthorized attempts to change the interior temperature of a facility. Swarm Logic technology helped this customer to qualify for incentives from El Paso Electric, PNM, and Xcel Energy. With average annual savings of $35,361, the movie theater chain is proving that social responsibility and fiscal integrity do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Another feature valued by this customer is that the Swarm Portal is mobile. This allows the facilities manager to access load data and modify schedules while on the road. He has even logged in to the portal and made changes from his cell phone while attending a soccer game. The customer portal is accessible anywhere there is an internet connection – a necessary feature for facilities managers who are often on the go and need the ability to make quick changes.

The customer originally installed Encycle’s Swarm Logic technology at three of their theaters, however, based on the success of these installations they decided to implement it across eight additional facilities.

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