ENERGY STAT: RENEWABLE ENERGY GREW TO 15.5% OF THE TOTAL
INSTALLED ENERGY CAPACITY IN THE U.S. AND 13.5% OF TOTAL
ELECTRICITY GENERATION IN 2014, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL
RENEWABLE ENERGY LABORATORY.
Restrain Rising Plug Loads
➙In the quest for whole building energy efficiency, FMs cannot
ignore plug loads, which ac-
count for a growing share of commercial
building consumption. These loads pose
some different challenges than those of
central energy loads like lighting and
The Department of Energy (DOE)
reports that plug loads are rising at
roughly twice the rate of total building
energy use. By 2030 they will increase
some 49% while other building loads
will increase only 24%. The projection
is based on increases in the number of
plug-in devices and their energy intensity. Plug loads currently represent 33%
of commercial building energy use.
What tools and techniques do FMs
have to roll back these loads?
A clear starting point is being rigorous about unnecessary and inefficient
equipment. “If you’re going to bring in
Six Steps to Good Plug Load Management
1) Establish a plug load champion. Choose someone in your organization to be the reduction champion
who ensures that all decision makers are on the same page.
2) Institutionalize plug load measures. Identify organization-wide procurement practices, policies and
3) Benchmark current equipment and operations. Do a walkthrough, develop a metering plan and select
appropriate power meters (sampling interval, data downloads, type of circuit).
4) Develop a business case. To gain buy-in from all parties involved, the champion must develop a business
case that justifies power load reduction.
5) Identify occupants’ real needs. The champion must understand what the occupants produce and what
tools they require.
6) Promote occupant awareness. Use signage, letters, emails, videos and other reminders to increase
Source: Excerpted from Assessing and Reducing Plug and Process Loads in Office Buildings, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).
new equipment, be sure that you need it
and don’t have other alternatives,” says
Cynthia Putnam, Project Director of the
National Building Operator Certifica-
tion Program at the Northwest Energy
Efficiency Council (NEEC). For example,
if a single printer/copier can be shared
among more users instead of purchas-
ing an additional one, energy usage
would likely be less. When new equip-
ment does become inevitable, efficiency
should be a factor in the purchasing
But once the equipment is installed,
the focus moves to the individuals who
directly operate – and share – the
Each APS has three outlet types for equipment with various electricity needs:
CONTROL SWITCHED ALWAYS-ON
The primary outlet acts as the “control”
or “master” outlet because it turns off
the power to secondary outlets when
the device connected to it is turned off.
The primary outlet typically powers
your computer’s central procesing unit
because most other devices connected
to the power strip at an office desk
depend on your computer for their
functionality. For example, you need
to turn on your computer to use your
monitor and print documents.
MONITOR, PRINTER, DESK LAMP
The secondary outlets act as the “controlled”
outlets and typically power peripheral
devices, such as your computer monitor(s),
desk lamp and printer. When the device
connected to the primary outlet is turned
off, the power will automatically be shut off
to the device connected to the secondary
outlets. For example, turning off your
computer automatically shuts off the power
to your monitor or printer. The amount of
energy you save with an advanced power
strip depends on the energy usage of the
devices connected to the secondary outlets.
LANDLINE PHONE, FAX, MINI FRIDGE
The always-on outlets are not controlled
by the primary outlet. Important office
desk devices, such as landline phones
and fax machines, that are plugged into
the always-on outlet will recieve constant
power regardless of the primary outlet
How to Use Advanced Power Strips
(APS) in an Office