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SHIFT Energy, Blackstone Energy Services announce partnership

SHIFT's AI tech to be integrated into Blackstone's blackPAC DERMS software

Blackstone Energy Services' blackPAC system in use. (Courtesy SHIFT Energy) 

SHIFT Energy and Toronto-based Blackstone Energy Services Ltd. announced a strategic partnership which will incorporate SHIFT’s energy management system into Blackstone’s energy and greenhouse gas platform for buildings.

“(Blackstone) has a very large customer base that has a business problem that they’re trying to solve,” Blackstone president Tim Schneider said in an interview with SustainableBiz. “(The partnership) allowed us to quickly leverage SHIFT's technology and experience in this area to begin to immediately solve this problem as opposed to trying to approach it as individual organizations.”

SHIFT, he said, has “one of the most proven and reliable technology platforms for continuously automating and re-commissioning existing systems which has a significant impact on reducing both energy costs and also carbon emissions.”

Blackstone is an energy management firm advising organizations on net-zero strategies and decarbonization. Schneider said it focuses on the MUSH sectors: municipalities, universities, schools and hospitals. Its clients include Durham Region, Brock University, Conestoga College and Lakeridge Health.

SHIFT is a Saint John, N.B.-based company behind an artificial intelligence (AI) platform to optimize HVAC systems in buildings.

Creating synergy between SHIFT and Blackstone

The partnership was initiated by the customers of both companies, Schneider said. He recalled being asked repeatedly, “I wish you guys would talk and put together what you do because we like the visualization, the extensibility of the Blackstone platform, but we also like the rich, deep capability and functionality and results that the SHIFT solution provides.”

SHIFT’s technology will be folded into the blackPAC distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) software.

blackPAC consolidates a facility’s energy data into a web-based carbon and energy management platform. Users can see the energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions from their building(s), which Blackstone says helps to identify savings opportunities and emissions reductions. It also aids with reporting and visualizations.

The software will incorporate SHIFT's technology into Blackstone's ‘Optimize’ and ‘activeICI’ modules. blackPAC offers up to eight modules that cover separate elements of DERMS. The 'Optimize' module offers, “Automated real-time optimization of building systems, using AI for continuous improvement,” while the 'activeICI' module covers, “Active and automated building demand management and peak shifting for ICI (Industrial Commercial Initiative) savings.”

SHIFT’s vice-president of sales engineering Daryl Letto, who also spoke to SustainableBiz, said the technology the company will integrate with Blackstone is essentially identical to the platform it rolled out across Cadillac Fairview’s 10 Toronto buildings in April. Referred to as 'HVAC AI,' it optimizes energy use and reduces carbon emissions by improving the performance of HVAC equipment with AI and data.

The partnership will merge SHIFT and Blackstone's respective core competencies, Schneider continued, as opposed to either attempting to cover a skillset beyond its specialty. This will create a “synergy” and a “rapid response to the climate emergency” he said.

Schneider said there was no relevant financial terms to the partnership, and emphasized how it was a “joint effort to create value within our customer base.”

There are no specific goals for greenhouse gas emissions reductions or energy efficiency with the partnership, as it will address the needs of its clients instead.

“We see ourselves as being a part of all solutions,” Schneider said.

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