Anthony Olivas, Chief Executive Officer
Technology is evolving faster than ever in the Smart Building space. Greener and cleaner buildings have become more of a requirement for corporations looking to lease office space and for investors looking to purchase in real estate. Meanwhile, complying with new ordinances on a national level is becoming increasingly difficult. From requirements to conduct annual energy benchmarks, energy audits, and some cities even requiring mandatory retrofits, such as lighting controls, sub-meters, fire alarm systems and structural safety requirements. It can be overwhelming for building owners to keep up with all local regulations, especially with multiple properties in various cities and states. Missing deadlines can be costly, and in some instances, even prevent them from doing business. Therefore, keeping up with compliance requirements can be a full-time job. Moreover, building owners and managers have to simplify their energy upgrades and building improvements for which they need to stay abreast with the latest smart building management systems or advanced equipment, from HVAC to better water efficiency technologies.
With a vision to provide technology that helps reduce environmental impact and improve operating efficiency, California-based Vert Energy Group is changing the narrative with the fundamental goal of increasing sustainability and profits in commercial buildings. Vert Energy Group started as an engineering firm conducting audits of buildings to help them identify the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs. As the company expanded into more cities, it experienced the same issues building owners had, where keeping pace with various local requirements was challenging. For example, Energy Benchmark laws are becoming much more widespread. This requires obtaining whole-building energy consumption records for the last 12 months from all electric, gas, solar, steam, and other utility providers. When an owner has buildings in over 5 or 30 cities, this gets complicated because obtaining that data is different for every utility company, let alone knowing which utility companies to contact for each property.
Deadlines for filing varies for each city. There are also other factors to consider, such as square footage and building type, and on top of that, some cities have additional conditions of mandatory retro-commissioning and upgrades if not already in compliance. Consequently, Vert Energy Group realized a considerable need to develop and deliver an innovative solution as more cities and states adopted similar laws. “Our goal is to make sustainability more accessible and easier for millions of commercial buildings in the US,” states Anthony Olivas, Chief Executive Officer of Vert Energy Group.
VertPro® - Comply with all Energy Benchmark laws in 30 minutes or less
VertPro® is a single platform that simplifies energy upgrades and compliance for all buildings in the United States.
“Our clients can use VertPro® to comply with all Energy Benchmark laws anywhere in the U.S., in 30 minutes or less,” asserts Olivas. Knowing which laws apply to their building(s), if any, and learning what is needed to comply with each, can be very complicated. The VertPro® platform enables users to identify which laws to comply with, the utility companies that service their buildings, the deadlines, the minimum requirements of compliance, and any additional requirements such as mandatory energy audits or retrofits. Users can add a property to the platform within a minute, and VertPro® instantly provides all the necessary information. After a property is added, all users have to do is e-sign the utility authorization forms in their dashboard, which are customized based on the property details. This saves end-users much time and helps them avoid pitfalls, such as signing the wrong forms while going through the process on their own.
“Innovate or Die”
Since Vert Energy Group launched VertPro.com, the SaaS Platform, in March 2020, the company has continued to improve the value and offerings that building owners and managers avail of from the platform. Initially, the firm focused on Energy Benchmark compliance because it required immediate attention within its own client base. One of the most prominent features the firm later rolled out was a new marketplace that provided its users with the ability to get competitive bids,from pre-vetted local contractors, for various energy upgrades and capital improvements in one place. “It not only helps users find qualified local contractors, but it also acquires the bids for them and provides an easy-to-use tool for comparing and rating each one side-by-side,” says Olivas. This makes the decision process much easier, less complex, and less risky because all the vendors on the platform have been vetted and pre-screened. Once users select a winning bid, they can manage all their projects and vendor communications in one place. “We believe this is a game-changer because it helps get more projects off the ground by taking the guesswork out of identifying and vetting new vendors,” adds Olivas. This helps property managers and owners make improvements much easier, quicker, and with less risk. For the vendors, it helps bring them a reliable source of qualified projects to bid on and lowers their overall cost of customer acquisition compared to traditional sales and marketing channels.
Vert Energy Group constantly improves and innovates its platform to make things simpler and offer more value. “Our offerings and services follow a circular lifecycle and constantly follow one another,” states Olivas. Users start with Energy Benchmark Compliance and depending on their score (per ordinance or energy laws), they may need to conduct an energy audit. The energy audits inform one how to improve cost-effectively, specific to each building, to get a better Energy Benchmark score and lower utility costs. From there, users can benefit from Vert Energy Group’s VertPro® Upgrades marketplace. This is where property managers/ building owners can get free competitive bids for their recommended energy improvements and other capital improvements. The benefits can be seen the next year when their next Energy Benchmark is reported with a higher score. This cycle continues, and the real-world application is in certain cities and states that have mandatory Energy & Modernization requirements ranging from GHG emission limits, to structural improvements, retro-commissioning, and more.
Through VertPro® Upgrades, a business can also find technology solution providers for various IT and capital improvements, such as advanced Building Management Systems that make buildings easier and safer to operate, troubleshoot issues, and prevent equipment failures. The professional engineering side of Vert Energy Group also provides technical expertise to help develop the most appropriate solutions and oversee the smooth implementation of these security/efficiency upgrades. “Our stellar client service is always there for any questions, clarifications, and educational needs regarding new laws or technology,” states Olivas.
Broadway Stages partners with Vert Energy Group
Broadway Stages is one of New York’s largest, full-service film and television production companies. With 200 to 300 production stages, the company is equipped to handle every conceivable size, style, and type of production. Their diverse portfolio of work includes films, television shows, music, and commercial studio photography. The team at Broadway Stages received an energy compliance violation notice for one of their buildings, and they wanted to ensure it did not happen again. They began looking at different energy compliance and auditing firms, and they ultimately approached Vert Energy Group. Vert Energy Group came in alongside Broadway Stages and became their energy benchmarking and auditing representative. With the VertPro.com website, Vert Energy Group responded within the client’s desired time frame even though it was based in California. The client finds VertPro.com easy to use when looking for more information or add-ons, and they have used the project team to handle most of their overall portfolio needs. With many energy audit and benchmark projects completed, Broadway Stages continues to benefit from the easy-to-use, time-saving tools on VertPro.com. The client can focus on their operational business goals without having to worry about their compliance needs. They provide an updated list of the properties they manage to the Vert Energy Group team annually, and the Vert Energy Group compliance professionals ensure everything is taken care of with as little time and hassle from the client as possible.
“We make it easy.”
Simplifying everything is highly ingrained in the company’s culture, and it helps the team at Vert Energy Group keep innovating and trying new things that can help make things easier for all stakeholders. “The vision for the company now is to be One Platform to Simplify Building Upgrades & Compliance. Reason being, we believe the greatest impact we can have on improving commercial buildings is by helping property owners/managers get more done with less. By taking the hassle out of identifying new opportunities, implementing upgrades and complying with various, and often confusing, local and federal sustainability regulations. If our platform makes all this simple, then more property owners will take action to improve their buildings and realize significant returns on investments, in terms of decreasing operating costs as well as increasing property values,” concludes CEO Anthony Olivas.
Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company
Rightfully so, the company was incorporated into the highly accredited Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Companies in 2021, ranking #1603 for private companies, and #23 for engineering firms.