Managing Plug Loads in Your Municipality

Posted: August 16, 2017
Tagged As: Electricity, Energy, Energy Bills, Training

Did you know that plug loads are one of the fastest growing sources of energy use in commercial buildings today? According to the US Department of Energy, plug loads account for 33% of energy consumed in office buildings. This number can be as high as 50% for buildings that have already undergone HVAC and lighting efficiency upgrades.

EnergyExchange Plug Load Infographic
Graphic courtesy of Energy Exchange

So what can be done to help minimize the impact of plug loads on your municipality’s electricity bills? This featured Energy Exchange infographic on plug loads highlights the following tips to get you started:
  1.  Exorcise Phantom Power. Phantom Power, also known as standby power, is the energy consumed by plug loads while the device is turned off or in standby mode. This means that when your electronic devices are plugged in but not in use, they are still consuming energy – and costing you money! Power bars are a simple and effective way to easily eliminate phantom power.
  2. Run as many of these loads during “off-peak” hours as possible. Visit the Ontario Energy Board for current time-of-use rates and periods.
  3. Many devices have energy savings modes which should be utilized. Furthermore, check television and computer monitor brightness settings. Dimming, even by just a little, can dramatically decrease energy consumption.
Even though reducing plug loads is a primary challenge in the design and operation of a commercial building, it is also an issue that can be addressed in any building. For more effective plug load reduction strategies visit this best practices guide developed by the California Energy Commission's Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program.

While a combination of no- and low-cost steps can be taken to minimize plug loads, there is also an important end-user component; education of occupants must play a key role in the control and ongoing management of plug loads. Visit the LAS Energy Trainings page for our current offerings, or contact Jeff Barten for more information.

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