Black Bear Diner in Glendale, AZ

Black Bear Diner in Glendale, AZ

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Year: 2015
Place: Glendale, AZ
Particularities: Decreases Kilowatt Usage with Small Box Energy’s chameleon™ Savings Needed During the Summer Months

Over the summer months in Arizona, electric consumption is especially high and sales are often down. No matter the season,
however, restaurants use about 5 to 7 times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings (according to, with family dining restaurants potentially using up to 10 times more energy. In fact, energy use often ranks
fourth among expenses for restaurants and convenience stores, with lighting and refrigeration taking up much of the rest.

Engenuity Systems, Inc. the largest distributor of open system products in the US and member of LonMark International
partnered with Small Box Energy, located in Chandler, AZ to develop an adaptable hardware platform to help customers
conserve and manage energy. Small Box Energy is a company dedicated to providing the ultimate energy management
experience for quick-serve restaurants, casual dining facilities, and convenience stores. The company was founded in 2012
and has quickly cemented itself as an industry leader working with some of the top names in its market.

Small Box Energy has also developed a custom software platform that monitors room temperatures and provides early
equipment diagnostics to reduce maintenance expenses and conserve kilowatt usage. Small Box Energy has also partnered
with some of the largest restaurant chains in the world by installing hardware that monitors temperatures for food
safety and educates restaurateurs on the use of equipment that consumes the most energy; HVAC, lighting and walk in

The Challenge
Black Bear Diner located in Glendale, AZ., aimed to maximize energy savings while producing quality home-style comfort food.
Black Bear turned to Small Box Energy to find a solution that would provide financial relief from rising energy expenses as
business volume continued to increase.

According to the National Restaurant Association, a majority of operators across all restaurant segments plan to invest
in energy-saving kitchen equipment, including more than 70 percent of casual-dining and fast-casual operators.
Diners are also taking notice. More than 40 percent of adults say they are likely to make a restaurant choice based on an
operation’s conservation practices.

The Solution
Small Box Energy opted to trust Engenuity Systems to design, procure, manufacture, and test the hardware in its chameleon™
Energy Management System. Black Bear Diner chose to implement the award winning energy management solution
because of its ability to provide real-time information for better control, alarm and alert management, resulting in operational
efficiency. The energy solution includes the i.Lon SmartServer from Echelon and LonMark certified products including:
Thermostat, T7350H from Honeywell and the WattNode Plus for LonWorks (LM V3.4).

The chameleon™ energy solution was originally developed for the world’s largest restaurant chain and has been proven to be
a turnkey solution for 26 key restaurant brands in the United States and abroad. By providing information that can be seen and
measured on a dashboard, and reducing or even eliminating employees from making major temperature adjustments,
chameleon makes a significant difference for its users, specifically reducing operational costs and energy consumption.
For example, chameleon helps:

  • Prevent food loss or spoilage with diagnostics that detect equipment maintenance needs, while sensors detect
    temperature and technology controls walk-in cooler. Be alerted when equipment fails, and manage and monitor
    food temperature
  • Keep lights from being left on 24 hours a day, with an astronomical clock that automates sunrise and sunset and
    photocell that manages lights on cloudy/stormy days
  • Reduce temperature complaints from customers, with set points scheduled and locked through the dashboard
    or remotely
  • Reduce the trend of rising energy costs by only consuming and paying for what is needed

Key Results
Black Bear Diner hoped to achieve savings and conserve kilowatt usage. Small Box Energy used sub-metering equipment
to show an overall measured savings of 24 percent kWh. This test was done during the winter and is expected to have even
higher results during the summer. According to Chuck Riske (Vice President, Operations) “Black Bear Diner, located in
Glendale, AZ, has seen a 10% decrease on electricity expenses over the course of five months”. Many restaurants solely focus
on lowering their HVAC costs, which is a large portion of an electric bill, but the chameleon™ energy solution also allows
expandability to include refrigeration energy reduction, food safety, and temperature monitoring and early detection equipment
diagnostics. This energy component helped Black Bear Diner exceed their energy saving goals

  • Small Box Energy’s chameleon™ Energy Management System decreases total HVAC energy usage by 33%
  • Through visibility provided by chameleon™ walk-ins showed an increase by 4% due to compressor thermal overload and
    fan motor failure
  • The system generated real-time data, creating an effective call to action for more efficient operations
  • An 873 total kWh reduction = 24% – summer months will reflect a greater reduction in kWh

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