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Plug Loads

Plug loads are the electrical loads in a building due to the various devices that are plugged into receptacles. Examples of plug-load devices include, but are not limited to, the following: computers, printers, task lights, vending machines, desk fans, etc. Recent research shows that desk-based technologies and electronics in office settings can consume significant amounts of energy that are often not taken into account in energy monitoring and reduction strategies. These technologies are generally under the control of individual workers rather than centrally operated, making plug loads "orphans." They are usually not managed until there is a plan in place to do soopens in new window. Workstation plug-loads are not the only challenge. Electronic equipment in shared spaces—such as print/copy rooms and break rooms—can also be a significant energy consumer, and with no one person responsible for turning it off, shared equipment is often left “on” indefinitely. 

Plug loads as a share of overall building energy use is higher in energy efficient buildings. In minimally code-compliant office buildings, plug loads may account for up to 25% of total energy consumption. But in high efficiency buildings, plug loads may account for more than 50% of the total energy consumption.

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