— Interview with David Ely, President/CEO, EDSS —
R&R: Where are you based and how long has the company been in business?
David Ely: Energy Design Service Systems (EDSS) is a woman-owned company formed in 2007. The corporate headquarters is located in Detroit with satellite offices in Boston; Boca Raton, Florida; San Francisco; and Austin, Texas.
R&R: What trades/services do you offer retailers and restaurants?
Ely: Energy Design Service Systems (EDSS) is not just your average lighting company (offering lighting design, supply, install, controls, lamp ordering portal and work order maintenance). EDSS has an in-house lighting design team that utilizes CAD technology to custom design each project. EDSS also performs facility assessments (Facility Energy Audit (ASHRAE FEA Level I-III, Facility Water Audit (FWA), Retro-Commissioning (RCx)) and green building certifications (ENERGY STAR, LEED®, etc.), custom tailoring services to best suit your facility. As a Trade Ally and approved vendor for programs across the country, EDSS specializes in obtaining the incentives to reduce your payback period (e.g. EPAct 179D Tax Deduction, State & Utility Rebates, Tax Incentives, Grants, Cost Segregation, and other IRS-related studies).
R&R: What makes your company’s “signature service” stand out in the industry?
Ely: Energy Design Service Systems (EDSS) stands out in our industry because of our hands-on approach. We treat every customer like they are family, and this approach produces stellar customer service.
R&R: What kind of feedback do you receive from clients?
Ely: Energy Design Service Systems (EDSS) is a “customer-first” company. We strive to ensure our customers are content with their products and service. Customers use us again and again and speak very highly of EDSS. As an example, three of our customer service representatives have first names that start with the letter “J” and our customers believe the service they provide is phenomenal so they refer to them as their “Super Js!”
R&R: Why should owner/operators choose your company to be their next vendor partner?
Ely: Energy Design Service Systems (EDSS) should be a first choice for lighting solutions and other energy needs. EDSS has exceptional service, treating each customer like they are EDSS’ only customer. Furthermore, EDSS has no ties to specific manufacturers. We source the best possible product at the most favorable price, and we can deliver custom packages tailored to our client’s needs with direct manufacturer purchases from our overseas manufacturers, including Vietnam and China, which allows us to offer our clients the lowest prices possible, normally around 30% to 50% lower. EDSS is continuously on the cutting edge for new lighting products including UV anti-bacterial fighting lights and new LED lighting as they evolve.
R&R: Are there still incentives and rebates for energy-efficiency solutions?
Ely: There are many incentives offered at the federal, state and local levels for energy-efficient design — including state and utility rebates; state programs, including property or payroll tax incentives; and such federal tax incentives as the 179d Tax Deduction (EPAct).
There are even federal and state grants available for eligible energy projects and upgrades that increase energy efficiency, with funding just announced for solar and carbon reduction projects. Most people don’t realize how much money they are leaving behind on their efficiency projects; combined, these incentives can sometimes pay up to 70% of your upgrade costs.
R&R: Does the Energy Policy Act of 2005 still hold savings for retailers?
Ely: The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) allows up to $1.80 per square foot in tax deductions for eligible projects that improve building envelope, lighting and heating and cooling systems. It allows deductions on buildings constructed or remodeled in the last 3 years. The deduction most likely can be claimed on your current tax years (bring it forward) rather than amending your previous returns.
R&R: How does EDSS help retailers when it comes to saving energy?
Ely: We would examine the retailer’s energy profile and usage history and provide solutions that align with its energy goals to reduce their operating cost and carbon footprint. Our in-house engineers will audit the lighting, mechanical and water systems of stores, distribution centers and corporate offices. Our energy department will identify both quick usage changes to existing infrastructure and low-cost upgrades with a payback time of less than 2 years.
Also, we can help address new climate change policies by tracking carbon emissions, and we can work with you to create Energy Star benchmarking, which details energy usage, evaluates deficiencies and establishes goals to reach those benchmarks.
We offer the option of upgrading your current lighting fixtures from our supply, and we can recommend long term, investment-grade changes to lighting, mechanical and water systems that will reduce your carbon emissions and make sure your facilities function as efficiently as possible.
— David Ely is president/CEO of Energy Design Service Systems (EDSS). This Q&A originally was published in the December 2020/January 2021 issue of Retail & Restaurant Facility Business magazine. For more information in having your company profiled in a future Signature Vendor Spotlight, please contact Scott Royal at [email protected].