As buildings become more energy efficient, the proper management of plug loads is now more important than ever. According to a report from the New Building Institute, electronic office equipment such as computers and printers can account for as high as 40 to 60 percent of all electricity consumed in a commercial building. By adopting better plug load practices, building owners and tenants can better manage and reduce their plug load energy use.
Key Steps for Plug Load Reduction
To be truly successful at reducing plug loads, it is important that everyone is on board with an effective management plan. Here are some strategies for how office and facility managers can reduce plug loads:
Educating employees about energy consumption will help them understand the important of reducing plug loads. For example, turning off electrical devices and unplugging them after use is something that should be taught to all employees. Shared equipment often presents a challenge for employees because it is not a single person’s responsibility. In this case, assigning one person the task of turning off these devices is helpful. By coming up with a plan with which every employee is on board, plug loads can be minimized effectively.
Purchase Energy Efficient Equipment
Installing energy efficient equipment is a worthy investment that will not only reduce plug loads, but also help building managers save money by reducing overall energy consumption. Energy Star is a good choice for small and large businesses looking to install energy efficient equipment into their buildings.
Use Smart Technology
Our technology has improved tremendously over the past few decades, and it should be utilized to effectively manage plug loads. For example, smart power strips can be used to keep electronic devices from sucking power even when you aren’t using them (often referred to as “phantom loads”). These devices sense the presence of office employees, and will turn on and off as needed to save energy.
Install a Metering Device
Some simple metering devices have the ability to measure plug loads and can be useful in providing a benchmark for energy usage. When choosing a metering device, make sure that it contains the necessary features to provide you with the data that you need. This may include the ability to meter and log one week of power consumption, and the ability to accurately meter a power range of 0-1800 Watts.
Install Power Monitoring Equipment
If building managers can afford the expense, power monitoring equipment can be used to monitor plug loads from individual circuits. This equipment is more complex than simple metering devices and will require a licensed electrician with the necessary electrical tools to install.
What You Stand to Gain by Reducing Plug Loads
It may not seem like that big of a deal to some office employees, but there is a lot to be gained from reducing plug loads. Here is why implementing a plug load management plan can be extremely beneficial:
One of the most attractive benefits to plug load management is that they are effective at reducing plug load costs, and this money can significantly add up over time. Implementing plug load strategies can help lower a business’s expenses and give them a greater return-on-investment.
Reduces Carbon Footprint
As more people grow socially conscious, the demand for green buildings has rapidly increased. Businesses are looking to reduce their carbon footprint in many ways, from recycling old electrical supplies to installing energy efficient equipment. By reducing the amount of energy wasted on sustaining plug loads, we can limit our carbon footprint in the process.
Stay Ahead of Regulation
Another side effect of growing concern over the environment is that government regulations are becoming stricter to curb energy consumption. While some businesses see this as a detriment to their bottom line, others are taking a proactive approach and installing energy efficient equipment before its needed. Business owners would be smart to take the initiative to address the rampant use of plug load electrical consumption and stay far ahead of inevitable regulation regarding plug loads.
While minimizing plug loads can present certain challenges, the rapid increase in plug loads needs to be addressed. This has become much easier in recent years, particular due to new technologies and the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT). By taking action to reduce plug loads, end users will be able to increase their savings and reduce their carbon footprint.