EnergyCAP Quick Tips - Create Button
Posted by Joel Brickell on 19 January 2021 12:28 PM
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EnergyCAP 7.11 Release
Posted by Joel Brickell on 07 December 2020 11:19 AM
The latest updates to EnergyCAP Version 7 (Release 7.11) are now available for EnergyCAP hosted databases. This update is focused on improving your Accounting workflow with Bill Reversals and Accruals, adds functionality for tracking prior account numbers and serial numbers, and provides updates especially helpful for international clients.
The Accruals log shows each run of the accrual engine along with the settings and filters used each time accrual bills are created. It’s easy to undo an accrual run, view the bills created by the accruals engine, add a comment, and undo accrual actions.
Save the last account number and last meter serial number
We were asked by many of you for this feature and now EnergyCAP provides the ability to save your last account number and last meter serial number.
When you search for an object, we’ll also identify matching items based on these fields.
Expanded capabilities for internal clients
EnergyCAP has expanded the capabilities for storing addresses and associated information for buildings, accounts, and meters.
System settings let you select the default country used when creating objects. This can save time if many objects in your EnergyCAP database are all located in the same country.
When creating a building, meter, or account you now have:
- The ability to select any country.
- Three lines for the street address, including an extended character set.
- Expanded field sizes.
- Additional guidance for finding the latitude and longitude based on Google Maps.
When tracking buildings outside of the United States and Canada, EnergyCAP will now automatically match your location with international weather data based on latitude and longitude.
Updated Setup Spreadsheets
To accommodate the changes made to accounts, meters, and buildings we’ve updated the create and update setups spreadsheets associated with accounts, meters, organizations, and buildings. Remember to always download a current setup spreadsheet before you begin adding or updating information.
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The latest updates to EnergyCAP Version 7 (Release 7.8) are now available for all EnergyCAP-hosted databases. Several major features are part of 7.8—the ability to indicate the reporting units for meter charts and bill lists, enhanced options to configure and save bill formats, and integration with the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® system. We’ve also released two new incredibly powerful reports to help you manage and validate your billing data!
Each meter can now be configured with the specific units to be used for calculating and charting meter use and demand (formerly, EnergyCAP would make a “best guess” based on assigned bill entry templates and billing information). This enhancement eliminates issues related to mixed units of measure—bills will be recorded and reported accurately, even if a vendor changes their billing units over the lifetime of a meter.
When creating a meter, you will now specify the use unit (and optionally the demand unit) that will be used to calculate and display the meter’s data. There’s no need to select a bill entry template going forward—EnergyCAP will automatically setup your meter for manual bill entry based on your meter’s settings. The meter use and demand units are also used by the chargeback engine when performing bill calculations. During the upgrade to Release 7.8, we’ve automatically setup your existing meters based on the units from your previous bill entry templates, and we’ve recalculated your bills to report based on your new meter units.
Your meter can now have bills that are recorded in different units over time—we’ll take care of the conversions in the background to make sure your data is reported consistently. There’s no need to run a mixed units of measure calculation or update old bills. It just works!
We’ve also made the bill entry process smarter, and you’ll be alerted if you try to enter bills that have multiple unit types on the same meter (that’s a bad thing, and you’ll want to fix it).
We’ll also tell you if your current bill is being recorded in a unit that is different from the meter’s unit—that’s okay, we’ll just let you know. And we even provide a simple way to update your meter units if you prefer to use the units on your bill for reporting going forward.
The ability to easily customize and save bill formats during the manual bill entry process replaces the need to maintain and assign bill entry templates. This new process is intuitive and easy-to-use—if you change the line items on a bill or update captions while saving a bill, we’ll ask you whether or not you want to save your bill format changes and walk you through the process of making updates to other accounts and meters.
You can update the bill format for a meter at any time by adding or removing bill lines during manual bill entry. When you change the layout of a bill, you’ll be prompted with options for how you would like to use the updated format. You can use the new format one time only, use it for all new bills on this meter, use it for all new bills on meters that share the same vendor and rate, or pick specific meters that you want to use it on in the future. All this happens as you make changes—there’s no special editor or administration screens you need to use.
What if you want to use the bill format from a bill you already have in your database? You can open the bill, select Apply Bill Format… from the meter’s Actions menu, and you’ll be able to apply the bill format to this or other meters, just like during the bill entry process. Essentially, your bills have become the replacement for bill entry templates.
For those times when you need to manually enter a bill for a meter that normally has imported bills or where you use the chargeback engine to create calculated bills, we’ve also made the process easier. In both of these situations, we’ll now use the bill format from the most recent bill to help make manually entering a bill even easier.
We’ve provided an article in the EnergyCAP User Guide that explains more about bill line item types. It also provides some example bill formats for specific scenarios.
EnergyCAP Version 7.8 and ENERGY STAR
EnergyCAP’s ENERGY STAR features have been redesigned from the ground-up in Version 7.8 based on customer feedback and suggestions from the EPA. You can now send EnergyCAP billing data to an existing Portfolio Manager® account, retrieve scores and metrics for any months you want, and easily track and highlight building performance. We’ve also updated the submission process to provide greater transparency and reduce the amount of data errors you receive from Portfolio Manager by submitting calendarized data from your EnergyCAP database.
We’ve streamlined the process of getting ENERGY STAR enabled for your database in EnergyCAP Version 7. If you’ve already been submitting data to ENERGY STAR from EnergyCAP Version 3, confirm your new ENERGY STAR settings, and you’re ready to go! You’ll now assume control of your existing Portfolio Manager account—you can now customize the settings for your properties and meters in Portfolio Manager. We have a dedicated article in our User Guide to help you with this transition.
If you’re new to using EnergyCAP to submit data to ENERGY STAR, start by sharing your ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager account with us. You can use a brand-new Portfolio Manager account or one you’ve been using for years.
Enable ENERGY STAR in Your Database
You will not see any ENERGY STAR tabs or information in your EnergyCAP database until you enable the ENERGY STAR features. Use the menu in the Buildings & Meters module to view the ENERGY STAR Settings (screenshot below). If you’ve already shared your Portfolio Manager account with EnergyCAP (or you used EnergyCAP Version 3 to submit data to ENERGY STAR), you’ll just need to provide two items of information:
- ENERGY STAR Notification Recipients—Provide one or more email addresses to be notified of the status of your data submissions. You can choose from existing EnergyCAP users or type in another email address. Multiple email addresses can be provided.
- Earliest Submission Month—This is the earliest month of data that you want EnergyCAP Version 7 to submit to ENERGY STAR from your database. EnergyCAP Version 7 will NEVER submit data earlier than this date. This is often set to the beginning of a reporting period.
NOTE: If you previously submitted data to ENERGY STAR via EnergyCAP Version 3, the Earliest Submission Month will be used to remove any data that was submitted via Version 3 during or after the provided month. To avoid duplicate data, it’s important for EnergyCAP to remove old data submitted via Version 3 for any months that will also be submitted in Version 7. ANY DATA PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED VIA VERSION 3 WILL BE REMOVED AFTER THE DATE YOU PROVIDE.
You may update this date multiple times. If you are uncertain of the date to choose, please read our help articles, or contact our support team. This date can also be helpful to avoid sending data from EnergyCAP for months you have previously submitted data directly to Portfolio Manager.
Link Your Buildings and Meters
Once you’ve enabled the ENERGY STAR features in your database, link your Portfolio Manager properties and meters to your EnergyCAP buildings and meters. From any EnergyCAP building, you can start linking your data together.
You can also use our new ENERGY STAR setup spreadsheet to link multiple buildings and meters at the same time.
New ENERGY STAR Submission Screen
With the new ENERGY STAR submission screen in EnergyCAP Version 7, you can easily view the status of your bills before you send them to Portfolio Manager. See what you’ve already submitted, which buildings are ready to send, which buildings don’t have all their data yet, and what’s changed since your last submission.
All buildings linked to Portfolio Manager are listed here. Easily identify the status of bills for each building and month. If bills are updated after they have been submitted, the status changes from Submitted back to Ready.
All data sent to ENERGY STAR is calendarized data—this means that your bills have been divided up between calendar months to simplify your data submission. It’s easy to see what months you’ve submitted and the status of each month’s bill data. This approach also ensures that you don’t have gaps between bills or overlapping bills when you retrieve your ENERGY STAR scores and metrics.
Submission Process and Email Notifications
Each time you submit data, EnergyCAP will start attempting to submit data to Portfolio Manager and you will receive email notifications throughout the submission process. ENERGY STAR scores are retrieved automatically for all buildings submitted.
Errors with Updating Scores and Metrics
No emails are sent if alerts or errors are received when attempting to update scores, instead a log is maintained in EnergyCAP with links to the information. We know that there are LOTS of reasons why you might not get a score, so we decided not to send you lots of messages.
Update Your Scores and Metrics Anytime
Select any building and date range to refresh your ENERGY STAR scores. You can even retrieve scores and metrics for months prior to the earliest submission month for Version 7.
Updated Building View
We’ve refreshed how we display your ENERGY STAR information for each linked building. You’ll now see a better score trend and we’re also showing trend information for the ENERGY STAR calculated energy use intensity (EUI) values for your buildings. Your most recent score (or EUI if score is not available) is prominently displayed.
New Organization View
The ENERGY STAR tab for an organization lists all the buildings linked to Portfolio Manager within the organization. This makes it easy to see all your buildings and their most recent scores on one screen.
New ENERGY STAR Dashboard Content
New dashboard content panels display ENERGY STAR scores and EUI information for one or many buildings. This allows you to easily share your ENERGY STAR benchmarking with others.
Two New Reports
In addition to all these updates, we’ve also published two new reports to help you manage your bills.
- Report-17: Missing and Overlapping Bills by Meter—This report helps you quickly identify months missing billing data and dates where multiple bills exist. We’ve taken the best parts of the legacy BL08 report series and built one report that clearly identifies problems with your billing data.
- Report-13: Bill Analysis—This may be our smartest report ever! It helps identify abnormal bills using your billing history and past/current weather data to highlight bills for analysis. We’re using quadratic regression models for use, cost, and demand to save you time and only highlight the bills that need your attention. This report enhances the content of Report-12 and replaces the AN27, BL20, BL27, and BL27 legacy reports.
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** Important for EnergyCAP hosted and Self-hosted clients **
A new version of the EnergyCAP Installed Client (Version 6.x) is available. The EnergyCAP Installed Client is a Windows-based application for managing data in your EnergyCAP database. This update is required to continue use of the Installed Client properly with EnergyCAP licenses that expire in May 2021 and beyond.
The latest version of the EnergyCAP Installed Client is available to download by request and is packaged as a Windows Installation Package (MSI) that can be easily deployed to Windows computers within your organization.
Before you update, it is important to backup any custom bill import profiles, interval data import profiles, and bill export profiles you may be using. These custom profiles (.ini) can be found on your computer in a location like:
NOTE: If you are running automation scripts on servers that utilize the EnergyCAP Installed Client libraries to import billing data, import interval data, or export bills for accounting, those servers will also need this latest update.
Please submit a ticket to EnergyCAP Support to request the new version of EnergyCAP Installed Client.
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** Self-hosted clients only **
A new server update is available for EnergyCAP Version 7. This update includes several bug fixes and performance improvements over previously released versions. This version also removes all dependencies on TLS 1.0—you may disable TLS 1.0 in your environment after installing this version.
Please submit a ticket to EnergyCAP Support to request the latest installation package for EnergyCAP Version 7. We anticipate releasing another update to Version 7 sometime this summer.
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EnergyCAP’s Crystal Reports are being replaced with new SQL Server Reporting Services (“SSRS”) reports. SSRS reports are faster and more flexible and provide enhanced reporting capabilities that include expanded filtering options and hyperlinks to EnergyCAP objects.
Note: SSRS-based reports can be identified with report code Report-XX and can be searched for by typing SSRS in the Reports Module. One SSRS report often replaces multiple Crystal Reports-based reports.
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On January 29, 2020, EnergyCAP, Inc. (ECI) will be updating its software for all ECI-hosted databases. No downtime is expected during this update; however, there are several feature updates to custom logos, custom database names, building groups, and meter groups that may impact your organization. Please review the changes listed below in preparation for this update.
Updates to Customer-Provided Logos and Database Names
EnergyCAP provides functionality for your organization to display a logo and database name at the top of the application. To support upcoming improvements, the information at the top of EnergyCAP Version 7 will be reformatted—this includes updates to the formatting of customer logos and database names.
Logo Dimensions. Customer logo image dimensions will need to be either a square (1:1 ratio) or a rectangle where the width is no greater than 2 times the height (2:1 ratio). Customer logo files must be at least 96 pixels wide by 96 pixels high, up to 5MB in file size, and be PNG, JPEG, or SVG format. Existing logos that meet these format standards will work with EnergyCAP Version 7.6. Any logos that are too wide will be hidden after the upgrade. Revised logo images may be uploaded at any time (before or after the update). This new logo format is similar to the requirements used by many social media sites and online tools.
Database Name. EnergyCAP also provides the ability to display a database name at the top of the application. Many EnergyCAP customers display their organization name or a database label to assist users. After the Version 7.6 update, this name will be displayed by default in all EnergyCAP databases. We recommend verifying the custom name settings of your database prior to the update. The combination of a company logo and a database name can be very effective at branding your EnergyCAP database for your organization.
Here are some examples of how a logo and database name can be used to maximize your organization’s logo and database name. We recommend minimizing the text used in logos and using the custom label whenever possible—this will provide the best visibility for your logo.
Updates to Building Groups and Meter Groups
Historically, EnergyCAP has provided three types of building and meter groups:
- Manual groups (yellow groups)—created and managed by users
- Automatic groups (purple groups)—created by users and maintained automatically based on user-configured filters (e.g., all buildings with an area greater than 10,000 sq ft)
- System groups (blue groups)—created and maintained automatically by EnergyCAP
Going forward, system groups will not be created or maintained by EnergyCAP. Because these groups were automatically created by the application, many of the groups were never utilized, and they resulted in decreased performance for other common actions. Instead, users can create automatic groups based on the criteria that matters to your organization.
To ease the transition from system groups to automatic groups, the following system groups will be converted to automatic groups (no action is required for this conversion):
- Building groups based on primary use
- Meter groups based on primary use
- Meter groups based on commodity
System meter groups based on vendor-commodity and vendor-rate combinations will be removed during the update. To simplify creating automatic groups based on vendor-commodity and vendor-rate, a new auto-create feature will be available in the Vendors and Rates module.
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