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in the Green Procurement Compilation

Learn & Plan Topics

Power Modes

Modern electronic equipment usually incorporates a variety of power levels, or “modes” and is usually “on” continuously at some power level. The various modes allow for power management of the equipment – correlating the power mode to the user’s activity level. Most common modes are active, standby, and off.

Active mode powers equipment as it is being operated, and is the most energy intensive. Standby mode leaves equipment on, but powered-down either automatically when the equipment has been idle for a specified time, or manually placed in standby by the user. Electronic devices will return to active mode when a user engages the equipment. Off mode either does not draw any power or draws very little power because it has been manually turned off or unplugged by the user.

Many electronic devices never completely turn off in order to start quickly when the user activates the device. These are called “parasitic loads.” For example, the DVD player has been switched off using the remote, but it is still connected to the power socket and so continues to draw a small quantity of power. Parasitic loads are also known as “phantom loads” or “vampire loads.” Identifying and managing power modes in the office setting is a critical step towards reducing plug load power consumption. 

Whole Building Systems


  • Automatic Low-Power State

    The first, and in some cases most effective, control method is a built-in, automatic low-power state functionality such as standby or sleep. Some ma...
  • Load-Sensing Control Device

    Plug loads may have a primary-secondary relationship. A primary device, such as a computer, operates independently of other (slave) devices. A secon...
  • Freezer

    Walk-in and reach-in freezers should have fully-gasketed doors to fully contain the cold air within, and walls should be adequat...