Did you know that office equipment uses about 20 percent of electricity in commercial office buildings? Office equipment is a type of plug load, an electronic device that plugs into the wall.
Not only does office equipment consume a large fraction of total office electricity, but its electricity use continues to rise as offices add more electronics with greater functionality.
Did you know that in your office it is possible to reduce office equipment energy use by 40 percent just by using no- and low-cost approaches such as aggressive power management settings, inexpensive hardware controllers like timers and advanced plug strips, and employee behavior changes?
In work funded by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) Program, Ecova’s Research and Policy Team recently completed a field monitoring study to better understand the energy consumption of plug load devices in commercial offices. Specifically, we were looking at ways for plug load energy savings. The results of the study are available here.
Furthering the work of this important study, today, the New Buildings Institute published a new guide which outlines these five steps for reducing office equipment energy use:
Review: Gather information about how plug loads are used in your office.
Remove: Eliminate or unplug unnecessary devices.
Reduce: Implement strategies to lower power draw of high priority devices such as computers, monitors and imaging equipment.
Replace: When it’s time to replace, purchase the most energy-efficient devices for the job.
Retrain: Engage staff. Make sure they understand the energy-savings steps taken and teach them how they can reduce energy use.
The guide also offers actionable information on how to save money by reducing plug load energy use in office spaces. In offices, computers, monitors, imaging equipment and computer peripherals use the majority of office equipment energy use. In offices that have already improved the efficiency of lighting and HVAC systems, plug loads can represent as much as 50 percent of electricity use. And, this figure can be reduced by up to 40 percent through a combination of using low and no-cost measures.
This kind of actionable and data-driven information is a great benefit for landlords, tenants, and occupants of office spaces around the country, all of whom can play an important role in lowering their energy consumption.