Plug loads are devices that are plugged into your building's electrical system. Plug load electricity consumption is on the rise, according to the New Buildings Institute, and is one of the fastest growing users of energy in commercial buildings.
Many of these devices draw power 24/7, even when the building is empty and no one's using them. This is known as phantom power. Don't let your facility be haunted by this kind of energy waste. These simple, low-cost measures can help you give up the energy ghosts.
Get some sleep
Computers and office equipment rarely get used all of the time. When they operate at full power all day long, however, you're wasting energy. Constantly plugging in or turning on equipment is a hassle. Your best bet is to enable aggressive power management "sleep" settings in all office equipment. That way, they use only a tiny amount of energy when idle, but they're still ready when needed.
Supplement power management settings with advanced power strips that use timers, occupancy sensors or load sensors to power off connected devices. Timers reduce energy use at night and on weekends. Occupancy sensors shut off power when no one's present. Some models cut power to selected devices that are in sleep or idle mode.
Make a better selection
Vending machines are often used only during the lunch hour, but they eat away at your energy budget all day long. Install occupancy sensors to stop this energy waste cold by shutting off the compressor and front-panel lights when no one's around.
Get less personal
Personal appliances are highly inefficient and they often get left on after hours, wasting energy. Take steps to discourage their use. Maintain indoor temperatures at a comfortable setting and provide adequate refrigerator space and kitchen appliances in a central break room.
Got any office equipment that's a little old and antiquated, like a fax machine from the 1990s? It's time to upgrade to a new ENERGY STAR certified model. ENERGY STAR office equipment and imaging products come with all the bells and whistles, such as power management settings.
Still spooked by energy waste? Hire a qualified professional to perform an energy audit of your facility. Your auditor will recommend targeted measures to save energy and improve efficiency and comfort.