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Learn & Plan Topics

  • Plug Loads

    Plug loads refer to energy used by equipment that is plugged into an outlet. In an office, key plug loads include computer and monitors, printers...

  • Building Plug Loads

    Plug loads can average approximately 30% of electricity use in office settings, much of which can be attributed to parasitic loads (power draw of a ...
  • Energy & Atmosphere

    Buildings and facilities rely on the operation of mechanical systems and electrical systems to maintain a high level of indoor environmenta...

  • Building Operations and Maintenance Services

    Follow these sustainable strategies as your space renovations are complete and the building and interiors are operated in an environmentally sustai...

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 so. 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.

Whole Building Systems

  • Submetering - Green Tips and Behavior

    Place an emphasis on plug and process loads as they are one of the fastest-growing sources of energy consumption in buildings.

  • Submetering - Human Behavior on System

    People’s behavior is a critical factor in a building’s energy use and can often account for significant changes in the amount of energy ...

  • Submetering - Green Tips and Strategies

    Start by focusing on targeted or high-use consumption areas, such as chiller plants, PV and renewable energy systems, detailed plug-load level, and ...

  • Submetering - Green Globes NC

    Is there sub-metering installed for the following systems: light and lighting controls by floor or by zones, plug loads by floor or by zone, major e...

Materials

  • Schedule Timer Control Device

    Certain plug-loads have predictable load profiles. These devices are used during the same times each day or at regular intervals. A scheduling-contr...
  • Manual-On, Vacancy-Off Control Device

    A manual-on, vacancy-off control device is a slight modification of the occupancy-control device. It energizes a plug-load when it receives manual i...
  • Manual Control

    Most plug-loads can be manually powered down with built-in power buttons, shutdown procedures, or a control device that energizes and de-energizes e...
  • 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...