Pittsburgh Glass Center Boosts Energy Efficiency, Serves Artist Community


For nearly 20 years, the Pittsburgh Glass Center has trained, inspired and showcased artists—from internationally-recognized artisans to novices taking their first glass-blowing class. The nonprofit organization facilitates glass-blowing workshops, hosts artist residencies, produces exhibitions and rents out space for artists to create their energy-intensive works.

With furnaces that operate around the clock during the whole year, the Pittsburgh Glass Center devotes a significant amount of its overall budget to energy costs. Direct Energy Business has provided electricity and natural gas to the facility for more than five years. More recently, the Pittsburgh Glass Center has expanded its collaboration with us to monitor equipment performance and efficiency in real time, and better manage the facility’s overall energy spend.

The center installed a device-level energy monitoring solution offered by our sister company, Centrica Business Solutions, to gain new insights on the energy use and efficiency of its kilns. The Pittsburgh Glass Center receives real-time and actionable data on where power is being used throughout the venue through a cloud-based analytics platform. For example, the center rebuilt one of its kilns to be more energy-efficient after discovering that it was consuming nearly twice as much natural gas as the other kilns. The real-time energy insights have also allowed the center to charge artists the right price for the amount of energy they consume while renting kilns.

Heather McElwee, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Glass Center, elaborated how "a lot of our artists come to the Glass Center to make their works. This is a difficult art form to have in your basement or in your garage. We use a lot of electricity and natural gas, and we were excited to be able to partner with Direct Energy Business…The experience from Direct Energy Business has been invaluable, and it allowed us to make informed decisions. We would recommend Direct Energy Business to anyone who’s thinking about making a switch."

Together, we and Centrica Business Solutions offer innovative technology and end-to-end services that have transformed the way the center views and uses energy. Equipped with real-time energy usage information, the Pittsburgh Glass Center can reduce energy costs, extend the life of its equipment, and focus on serving its growing artist community.


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