SaaS goes green with Hara to reduce cost and better energy efficiency

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Monday, June 1, 2009

saasWith the changing facet of business, long grown strategies of labor arbitrage and outsourcing are coming to an end. Most of the large organization are searching for alternative frame-ups to reduce their costs. One such contrivance is better management of natural resources. A startup established by former executives from SAP and Oracle has developed a software-as-a-service that can assist the large companies to reduce costs  through better management of natural resources. This is an Environmental and Energy Management system from Hara, of Menlo Park, California.

Established in 2007, Hara is funded by US$6 million investment from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The company has signed up 12 customers. Some of its customers such as Coca Cola Co. and the city of Palo Alto in California have helped to develop the product. Palo Alto is using Hara’s product to fulfill a citywide mandate to reduce emissions. According to cofounder and CEO Amit Chatterjee, the product is ready to take the markets soon.

How does it work?

The system is designed to collect data about the resources consumed across an organization such energy, water and carbon emissions. Hara taps into into ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, utilities, spreadsheets and any other systems that contains relevant data. Based on these data Hara recommends the steps that the company needs to ensure to reduce costs and meet the environmental goals. It also provides online tools for tracking the progress. The steps to be taken might include anything from renewing insulation at factories to using run-off rainwater for water supplies, or even switching to ecofriendly biomass boilers.

Hara’s Environmental and Energy Management system offers four modules Discover, Plan, Act and Innovate and customers.  Customers can buy each of the modules seperately and pay the subscription based on the facilities they want to avail.

Karl Van Orsdol, energy risk manager for the city Palo Alto revealed that they negotiated for $24,000 per year for all four modules. The city received a significant discount for helping to develop the product.
Van Orsdol said

Palo Alto has done its calculations correctly, it expects to save about $600,000 per year starting in December, mostly from reduced electricity and gas consumption,

According to Chatterjee, Hara stands out from the rest of the pack as it makes detailed recommendations for the steps organizations can take to reduce emissions. Further, the model is equipped to handle the contingencies providing solutions for what-if situations. For instance, it provides the solution, how the payoff for a certain action might change if the price of a carbon emissions permit goes up or down.


Hara has a number competitors including  SAP, which has taken over carbon management vendor ClearStandards. Other competitors to Hara includes Enviance, Verisae and ZeroFootprint.

Although there are a lot of different ways to handle greenhouse gas inventory, it is most feasible to use an enterprisewide management system that could accomplish better management of natural resources. Hara and the like’s seem the emerging design of cost reduction that companies might adopt in near future.

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