Bert Provides the Missing Piece of the Energy Management Puzzle

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Small Loads

Welcome to Bert’s new blog, Small Things. The blog will feature topics related to the control and management of commercial plug and hardwired loads. 

Based on our conversations with ESCOs, building operators and BAS vendors, we know these loads aren’t well understood, even though they’re the largest source of energy usage in many commercial buildings. Whether it’s information about which devices use the most energy, potential energy savings, or how to implement plug load control, we’re ready to share our experiences.

The Bert Plug Load Solution for “Everything Else” in the Building

The Bert plug load solution provides the missing piece of the energy management puzzle; control and management for miscellaneous electric loads not connected to Building Automation Systems (BAS).

The BAS handles HVAC, lighting and mechanical systems, but doesn’t address loads like printers, copiers, classroom electronics, vending machines, exhaust fans, break room equipment, window AC units, electric hot water heaters or air handling units.  

Bert describes these loads – which are outside of a building’s core functions – as “everything else” in commercial buildings. Since the BAS is not able to control these loads, they typically run 24/7.

Bert controls everything else

The Bert plug load solution saves energy and provides valuable insight into building operations by managing and controlling these devices.  Bert’s wireless energy management platform collects and stores real-time granular device, measurement and temperature data for increased efficiency and comfort. The platform also includes the ability to integrate these loads into BACnet/IP building automation systems.

Data about 30,000+ Plug and Hardwired Loads

Bert controls over 30,000 plug and hardwired loads in 700 buildings in school districts, colleges, local governments, office buildings, and sporting venues. In each of these projects, Bert inventoried the number and types of plug and hardwired loads by building.  Most of the time, we also collected measurement data from each device, including specifics about energy consumption and usage patterns.

Bert continuously updates and analyzes this plug load audit data in order to refine our proprietary device density factors. This calculation is unique to Bert. In short, we crunch the numbers to calculate the average number of devices – printers, vending machines, charging carts etc. – found per square foot in a particular building type. Bert maintains density factors for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, administrative and office buildings and sporting venues.

Small Loads Add up to Big Energy Expenses

While individual loads are small, miscellaneous electric loads (MELs) are the fastest growing source of energy usage in commercial buildings.  In addition, MELs are often the largest source of energy usage as well.

To put these loads into context:

According to the Department of Energy, devices with non-traditional end uses consumed over 7 quadrillion BTU in 2012. That’s enough dynamite to carve Mount Rushmore 135,800,000 times, according to the Department of Energy’s Direct Currents Energy Unit Calculator which uses alternative energy units to make energy consumption easier to understand.

The Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2015 forecasts that primary energy consumption from commercial MELs will grow 27% from 2016 to 2030 and the. contribution of commercial MELs to total building energy consumption increases from 36% in 2016, to 43% in 2030 under its business-as-usual scenario.

Standby or overnight loads associated with MELs account for more than 100 billion kWh and $ 11 billion in annual energy costs in the United States alone, according to Energy Star®. That’s the same amount of energy used in 6,116 Moon Landings.

We’d love to hear from you.  Please let us know if there are topics you’d like to see covered.