Visual effects studio, 9iFX, gets creative saving money and energy

Visual effects studio, 9iFX, gets creative saving money and energy

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9iFX is a Portland-based visual effects and post-production studio created 10 years ago by husband-wife duo Michael and Tracey Miller. Before the couple founded the creative studio, Tracey was in graduate school while Michael worked as a VFX Supervisor on the Portland-based, TV series Grimm.

Michael’s interest in Visual Effects and experience from Grimm led him to explore freelancing during the show’s offseason. “It got to the point where he (Michael) would work his day job and then work on the company in the evening, and then the projects just kept getting bigger and bigger,” said Tracey Miller, managing partner. Michael’s freelance portfolio grew until the couple decided to establish the studio in 2013 and continue building their customer portfolio.

Over the following years, the consistency and scale of projects continued to grow, which led Michael and Tracey to hire more freelancers and eventually full-time staff to help with the expanding workload. The stability with staff and infrastructure meant the company could build more reliable, long-term partnerships and they began acquiring large projects for well-known brands like Peloton and Nike. In 2020, the pandemic struck and put most of the entertainment space on hold. Fortunately, for 9iFX, animation replaced live production which allowed them to continue expanding throughout the pandemic.

With an increasing diversity of projects, their team needed more room, and decided it was time to invest in a larger, long-term space for the company. In 2022, the couple purchased their new 4,200 square foot studio in Portland and began the remodeling process. “The new place was very 1970’s chic; it had the drop-down very yellowed ceiling tile. And of course, the roof was not insulated at all,” said Tracey.

In addition, they discovered there was another part of the studio that needed work. “The other half of the building resembles a garage with no insulation on the door and with no insulation in the ceiling. Whatever temperature it was outside, that’s what it was inside,” said Tracey. The lack of insulation throughout the building led them to contact Energy Trust of Oregon.

With the help of Energy Trust, 9iFX installed new insulation in the ceiling and garage door. They received $5,900 in cash incentives for 3,000 square feet of insulation, decreasing their out-of-pocket expense by 65%. The new insulation will also help the studio save energy resulting in an estimated $3,100 in annual utility bill savings.

By installing energy-efficient insulation, 9iFX’s new studio improved temperature control and decreased energy costs, leading to a more cost-effective comfortable space. Tracey and Michael have already noticed a difference during the summer months. “On one of the 100 degree-days, when I stepped outside it was immediately boiling, and then when I walked back in it was instantly cooler. Before the project, it would have been just unbearably hot,” said Tracey.

Better performing energy-efficient equipment means more money back into the business.

“Energy efficiency keeps our costs down as business owners, which allows us to have more resources available to buy a new computer or sponsor a company game night or holiday bonuses.” -Tracey Miller, managing partner, 9iFX

Learn more about saving energy and money for your business with support from Energy Trust. Visit our cash incentives page here or get started on your energy-saving project by emailing