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Looking for studies and other information about plug load, phantom energy use or electricity use in buildings?… You’ve come to the right place!  If you’re looking to build the financial case for energy savings in your organization, these studies and report can help you document the importance of controlling plug load.

Title: Buildings Energy Data Book, by US Department of Energy

Link: http://buildingsdatabook.eren.doe.gov/

According to the US Department of Energy, the intensity of energy use will continue to increase for commercial buildings, increasing from $1.91 per square foot in 1990 to a predicted $2.32 per square foot in 2030. This growth in commercial energy use reflects continued growth in the number of electrical devices in buildings, including computers and lighting.  (Source: Table 3.3.8, 2009 BEDB).


Title: Office Plug Load Field Monitoring Report, by California Energy Commission

Link: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2011publications/CEC-500-2011-010/CEC-500-2011-010.pdf

This study by the California Energy Commission focused on energy use within the Office sector.  The study found that office equipment and miscellaneous plug loads consume more than 20% of electricity. The largest plug loads were found to be computers and monitors, contributing to 66% of electricity use, following by other items such as portable lighting, telephones and coffee makers, which used 18% of electricity.  The report stresses the “need to exploit every opportunity for office plug load energy reduction.”


Title: Managing Energy Costs in Office Buildings, by e-Source

Link: http://www.esource.com/BEA/demo/PDF/CEA_offices.pdf

Respected consulting firm e-Source provides clients guidance for reducing energy use. They cite the savings potential of ‘quick fixes’ like turning off equipment while not in use. The report states “The bottom line: almost all of the conservation measures discussed for the short and longer term represents good investments.”


Title: Strategies for 50% Energy Savings in Large Office Buildings, National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Link: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy10osti/49213.pdf

This study presents a strategy for cutting energy use in large office buildings in half. To meet this goal, reducing plug loads is a must.  The study estimates that office plug-based loads are used on average 11.3 hours per day, leaving over half of the day ‘unused’. This suggests that technologies that help cut plug based load during off hours will be important to achieving energy use reductions.


Title: Phantom Load

Link: http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~recycle/ssec/download/Phantom%20Load.pdf

Phantom Load or (Vampire energy use) is defined as the electricity consumed by a device when it is off.  A document by University of California Berkeley states “obviously, phantom loads are a huge problem, especially as energy costs rise and our fossil fuel reserves near depletion.” They state that phantom load translates into “billions of dollars spent and countless amounts of pollution emitted into our air.”


Title: Estimation of Standby Power Consumption for Typical Appliances, Journal of Engineering Science and Technology Review

Link: www.jestr.org

A study in the Journal of Engineering Science and Technology Review defines standby power as “power consumed by an appliance when switched off or not performing its primary functions.” This article uses an engineering approach to measure and quantify savings that could result from the elimination of standby energy use. They describe both behavioral and technical approaches to standby energy reduction. While behavioral approaches are limited, they suggest that through the adoption of ‘technical innovations… [cam] reduce standby power consumptionup to 90 per cent.” (p. 72)


Title: Plug Loads, by the National Energy Education Development Project

Link: http://www.need.org/needpdf/PlugLoads.pdf

Within the education sector an estimated 25% of total electricity use is from plug based loads. This curriculum was developed to utilize STEM learning outcomes to empower students in all grade levels to help reduce energy use from plug based equipment like vending machines, projectors, refrigerated drinking fountains, computer monitors, coffee makers, televisions, and many others. This study includes a specially-developed Excel spreadsheet that helps students calculated savings.