Cake Systems

The core of Cake Systems software is built on the SIMPLE algorithm developed by nationally recognized energy efficiency expert, Michael Blasnik. Cake Systems was designed to provide an auditing tool to an industry that lacked a way to provide the sweet spot of fast, accurate and flexible. With Cake Systems, auditors have the ability to generate an easy-to-understand Energy Analysis Report quickly. Cake Systems is designed to reduce typical barriers to action and to motivate a homeowner to engage a contractor to start a project.

Cake Systems’ software platform provides a suite of customizable modules, including:

  • Cake System’s Proposal Generator helps Home Performance Contractors sell more jobs by allowing them to quickly generate multiple proposal scenarios with different energy savings calculations for homeowners to choose from, right at the ‘kitchen table.’
  • Cake Systems’ Home Portal provides homeowners with an easy-to-understand pathway to completing an energy efficiency retrofit project. The user-friendly interface provides homeowners with clarity around a sometimes confusing process, similar to TurboTax®. The Home Portal is designed to be customized and configured to meet the needs of the efficiency program.
  • Cake Systems has a mobile app that can be downloaded on tablet computers or mobile phones. Since Cake Systems’ Core Auditing Module is a web-based software, requiring users to have internet access, this mobile app allows for offline data collection.
  • Cake Systems’ API allows for real-time communication between Cake Systems and other software tools. This allows Cake Systems to be fully integrated into a program’s suite of software products. This API eliminates double-data entry and allows developers to build and create new applications built off Cake Systems API.

Keywords

Energy Efficiency, Auditing, Labeling Home Performance, Contractor, Program Manager, Utility, Community Energy Performance Score, EPS, Cake Systems Tablet Application, App, API, Home Energy Score, HES

Validation/Testing

Cake Systems’ underlying energy modeling engine, SIMPLE, has been widely evaluated and lauded by 3rd party sources for its accuracy, consistency and time-efficiency.

Accuracy:
  1. A 2009 Energy Trust of Oregon study showed the predictive power of the SIMPLE tool compared to normalized utility bill data in a 300 home pilot study. The chart attached, taken from the study, shows the SIMPLE Cake Systems software in pink and the utility bill data in light blue. It is evident that the SIMPLE energy model more closely models energy consumption in existing homes than either of the other tools that were tested.
  2. January, 2012 Modeling Comparison Report developed for the Energy Trust of Oregon by Stellar Processes, benchmarked five well-known energy modeling tools compared to the NW deemed-savings standard, SEEM. “This report examines the efficacy and accuracy of several modeling tools relative to a widely accepted benchmarking tool. The goals of this project are to determine if the different tools result in consistent and similar scores with regional results” (January, 2012 ETO Modeling Comparison Report). The chart attached shows that EAI’s Cake Systems tool was named #1 out of the 5 tools analyzed for overall consistency and accuracy.
Time-Efficiency:

Cake Systems SIMPLE modeling engine is not only highly accurate, but has an easy-to-use interface and is time efficient for users in the field. The chart attached is taken from the 2009 Energy Trust of Oregon study, mentioned above, in which energy auditors modeled 300 homes using multiple software types. This study shows that the Cake Systems SIMPLE energy modeling software takes much less time for auditors to collect and input data than other audit software that was tested.

Expertise Required

Auditors that use Cake Systems must be Building Performance Institute (BPI) certified or a HERS rater with a combustion safety training certificate, or equivalent. In addition to those certifications, it is required to complete a self-paced, online Cake Systems software training class.

Users

16 Energy Efficiency Programs (WA, MA, AL, VA & ND) with a total of 272 auditors as of July 31, 2012, United States only.

Audience

Utility and community energy efficiency program managers, prime management contractors, home performance contractors, home energy auditors and software developers.

Input

The software has approximately 35 to 60 inputs for the homes’ existing conditions, depending on number of HVAC systems and whether a detached or attached unit.

Home characteristic inputs are simplified – fewer options on drop-downs, allow for inputting a quick audit. Inputs include year built, sq. footage, volume, air leakage rate, visual duct inspection, building location (zip code and address), HVAC type, water heating type, appliance types, window types, approximate shading, lighting type, approximate insulation levels. Recommended upgrade selections are possible through a series of radio buttons and check boxes, for quick selection. Detailed note input and photo uploading are possible as well.

Output

Standard Output:

The Homeowner Energy Analysis Report (HEAR) is an easy-to-understand "roadmap for energy savings." The HEAR is consistently and easily generated by auditors, with the ability to be wholly customized, redesigned or rebranded to meet the needs of an energy efficiency program. The HEAR is available as short and long versions, with the ability to add photos and thermal images directly in the report. The easy-to-understand characteristics of the HEAR lead to higher retrofit rates and consumer satisfaction.

Standard input includes information on the current energy consumption and measure-by-measure savings calculations and provides the ability to add photos & custom text directly to the HEAR.

Optional Outputs:
  • The Energy Performance Score (EPS): is a home energy rating system similar to the miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating for automobiles. The EPS is a "white-label" energy rating, able to be wholly customized, redesigned or renamed to meet the needs of the region, state, municipality or utility
  • The EPS Energy Label provides an easy way to estimate actual home energy consumption, related carbon emissions, and utility costs. The EPS Energy Label is a market-driving mechanism which leaves homeowners with an official measurement of their homes’ energy efficiency that can be valued by actors in the market, such as Realtors®.

  • The Home Energy Score (HES): is a national rating system developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. A 1-10 rating of a home’s efficiency, the HES allows homeowners to compare the relative energy performance of their homes to other homes in the area on an easy-to-understand scale.

Contractor Proposal:
  • Breakdown of homes annual energy use, associated fuel cost, carbon emissions, and total percentage energy saved from proposed upgrades
  • Proposed Scope of Work – Multiphase report or Single-phase report – Lists upgrades or upgrade packages with associated cost estimates, fuel savings, carbon emissions reduced
  • General Notes to homeowner

Computer Platform

Web-based operating system with agnostic platform and API available. Offline mobile app (for iPad or Android-powered tablets) available in early September, 2012.

Programming Language

Java

Strengths

Cake Systems software platform was created to fill the need for a fast, accurate and flexible auditing software for the residential energy efficiency marketplace. It is designed to provide home energy auditors and home performance contractors an easy-to-use tool that provides a highly accurate measurement of a home's current energy usage and modeled upgrade savings in about 1 hour.

Weaknesses

Not designed to be used in commercial properties or on multi-family complexes of more than 4 units.

Contact

Company:

Earth Advantage Institute

Address:

808 SW 3rd Avenue
Suite 800
Portland, OR 97204
United States

Telephone:

503 968 7160 x59

E-mail:

ahealy@cakesystems.com

Website:

cakesystems.com

Availability

For Energy Efficiency Programs, Cake Systems is a customizable, modular software solution and its’ cost is dependent on the needs of the client. Please contact Andrew Healy for pricing at (503) 968-7160 x59 or ahealy@cakesystems.com.

For organizations looking to use Cake Systems’ API, please contact Andrew Healy for pricing at (503) 968-7160 x59 or ahealy@cakesystems.com.

For independent energy auditors, or home performance contractors, Cake Systems offers a ‘pay-per-use’ option depending on how many audits are performed annually. To begin, Cake Systems charges $199 for a self-paced online training course on how to use the software in different modeling situations, then the user can begin using the tool to model homes. Please visit http://www.cakesystems.com to sign up for training or a free webinar.