ACCORDING TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, plug and process
loads (PPLs) account for about one-third of a typical building’s energy
use. A NASA study found that PPLs in
high-efficiency buildings may account
for more than half of their total energy
If you are trying to improve
whole-building energy performance,
those copiers, refrigerators and computers throughout the property remain a
black hole of energy consumption—or,
depending on your perspective, a new
frontier that promises greater gains. You
just have to get residents and tenants to unplug. Is this possible, and
if so, what plug load management
strategies work best?
ENGAGEMENT VS. TECHNOLOGY
Resident and tenant engagement has long been a facet of sustainability programs. As
in most aspects of life and business, technology can also provide effective solutions.
A research experiment put both strategies to the test.
The Institute for Market Transformation, the District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility, The Tower Companies and other partners worked with
full-floor tenants in a D.C. office building. One floor focused on tenant engagement to encourage behavioral changes to reduce plug loads. Another
floor employed Advanced Power Strips (APS), which power down equipment when not in use.
The study found that the tenant engagement strategies had no effect
on energy consumption, according to data from submeters. The APS
strategy—ultimately recommended as the best approach to reducing plug
loads—resulted in a nine percent decrease in energy consumption.
Another strategy is gamification. A research team from Pennsylvania State University created a game called “Energy Chickens.” In this game, the health of animated chickens improves or declines depending on device-level energy consumption by
By Todd Feist