Engage Occupants in Slashing
HOW TO GET CONSUMERS ON BOARD WITH ENERGY CONSERVATION
thorough inventory of campus equipment
with the help of 14 student interns. The team
discovered that across the 263-building
campus, Stanford utilized 204,000 pieces of
equipment that consumed 77.3 million k Wh
every year with an annual cost of roughly
$9 million, according to a presentation by
Stanford Sustainability Specialist Moira Hafer
at the 2016 Greenbuild conference. Plug
loads represented 34% of the campus’s electricity use.
Stanford then broke down all of the
equipment by building type to determine
where the biggest energy hogs were.
Predictably, high-intensity labs came in with
the highest energy use intensity (EUI) at just
over 9 k Wh per square foot per year, followed by low-intensity labs at about 7 and
offices around 4. 5. The university identified
33 measurable initiatives fitting five general categories that could potentially save
$2.3 million per year. Equipment retrofits
alone saved roughly $183,000 and boasted
a six-month ROI, while a green laboratory
initiative came with a 3.4-year ROI but was
projected to save $1.4 million. All told, the
programs reduced the campus’s plug load
by 26% and the total electricity consumption by 9%.
Once you have the numbers you need,
it’s time to enlist occupants’ help. The suc-
cess of any plug load initiative depends on
consumers taking ownership of energy use.
For example, the University of California,
Berkeley targeted building occupants
through building surveys and energy dashboards that display real-time building energy use in over 100 facilities. Responsibility
for energy costs was allocated proportionally to individual campus operating units,
and students engaged with conservation
through residence hall competitions to
reduce electricity use.
Any building type can benefit from such
competitions, and if you’re already metering
to track whether you're saving energy, you
can use the same data to monitor competitors’ progress. Divide building occupants by
floors, departments, or even whole buildings
if your organization occupies a campus.
Focus on turning off lights and electronics
at the end of the day and build a campaign
around the small things occupants can do to
cut down on energy use. Advanced power
strips take conservation a step further by
preventing electronics from drawing power
while they’re turned off.
TRACK AND REPLICATE
Data is a vital component of any energy
initiative. Without tracking consumption
before, during and after occupant engagement, there’s no way to know if your initiatives are working. Make sure you’re metering energy consumption at a level granular
enough to let you see where energy use is
dropping and where more work is needed.
Submetering can help differentiate plug
loads from different floors and the metering
devices can often be paired with software
that lets you compare the measurements
of different meters side by side for easier
Publicize the results to everyone and suggest ways that people in areas with higher-than-expected consumption can improve
savings. With diligence and a well-planned
initiative, you can bring the people who
work in your building on board with conserving energy.
Responsible for an estimated 33% of energy consumption, plug and process loads represent a significant chunk of a building’s energy spend. But reducing
the amount of money you spend on plug
load-related energy isn’t as easy as bringing
in new technology – you need to get occupants to engage with your energy efforts
too. That task is easier said than done, but
these strategies may help.
IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS
Start by determining what barriers currently stand in the way of you and the
people in your building reducing the amount
of energy used for plug and process loads.
One common hurdle is that many buildings
don’t have the proper framework in place to
inform occupants about the energy consequences of behaviors like leaving equipment
on. People who simply work in a building
aren’t the ones paying the utility bill, so they
don’t realize how not turning off a task light
or a computer monitor at the end of the
day can impact their organization and the
VISUALIZE THE DATA
Determine where your energy is going
in regards to plug loads, then figure out
the best way to translate this information
for building occupants. Take a cue from
Stanford University, which conducted a
PLUG LOADS generated by leaving task
lights and other devices on are responsible
for roughly 33% of a building's energy use.