Pittsburgh Technical Council

Who's the BOSS?

Who's the BOSS?

Article Published: November 2, 2015

By Tim Hayes, Contributing Writer

Remember when dad used to throw a fit when anybody left the lights on, or the TV running when nobody was around, because it was wasting money?  Turns out the Old Man was right after all.

Boss 385That simple principle—if something powered by electricity is not being used, turn it off to save money—has delivered the rock-solid basis and platform for growth of BOSS Controls, a three-year-old Lawrenceville-based enterprise.

BOSS Controls designs, manufactures and sells networked control units, or “smart plugs,” that plug into wall sockets in tandem with electrically powered items (everything from large vending machines to water fountains to lamps, and anything in between).  Piggy-backing on existing wi-fi networks, the BOSS Controls smart plugs shut down the items plugged into them during specified times, mostly overnight, when they typically are not in use.

“We provide total energy control inside buildings,” said Greg Puschnigg, CEO of BOSS Controls.  “Our value proposition for schools, universities, corporate offices and other organizations responsible for buildings, is to turn off devices unused when people go home.”

According to Puschnigg, an electrical officer veteran of the U.S. Naval Academy, followed by successful innovation experience with Intel, BOSS Controls customers see tangible energy savings within one month after the system has been in use, and a complete return on investment within one year.

“Between 20 and 25 percent of the cost of operating buildings is energy consumption,” Puschnigg said.  “Equipment typically is running 24/7, but it’s not all needed for the majority of hours in a day.  We’re seeing great savings at universities, since they have so many buildings.

“The major existing controls  only can be accessed by the top 20 percent of companies, due to cost of installation and operation,” he said.  “That leaves the remaining 80 percent as the market we’re going after.  Buildings in general consume 50 percent of the energy in the U.S. We provide 100-percent financing, so the customer has no out-of-pocket costs for our equipment or installation.  There’s absolutely no risk for them.”

BOSS Controls equipment is manufactured, financed and distributed using exclusively Pittsburgh-based companies, including manufacturer TMG Electronics, hardware designer Daedalus, marketing and advertising provider C-Leveled, and financing from privately held regional angel investors.  The Pittsburgh connection became further solidified as BOSS Controls installed its smart plugs into various devices in City-owned buildings as part of the Global City Teams Challenge earlier this year, yielding significant reductions in energy costs. 

With customers in Pittsburgh, Florida, the Carolinas, Chicago, and Iowa, the market for BOSS Controls continues to expand, said Puschnigg.

“We control energy usage from the inside.  This is not the utility doing it from the outside.  By reducing consumption of energy, we offer ‘virtual capacity’ to utilities, which helps them to manage peak loads and avoid the need for capital expense to build additional power plants,” Puschnigg said.

“Any business can implement BOSS Controls equipment.  It can be scaled easily, so a customer doesn’t need to be a huge energy user for this to work for them.  Everyone understands a 30% energy cost reduction; it’s a no-brainer.  You reduce usage, you reduce costs, and you reduce emissions.  Everybody wins.”

Read the entire issues of TEQ right here.

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