Aug 24, 2020

Power over Ethernet (PoE) Technologies in Commercial and Institutional Building

This paper was presented at the 2020 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.


PoE technologies are currently ubiquitous in offices in the form of phones, access points, and IP security cameras and managed by on-site IT staff. As low voltage DC-power capabilities have increased with network switches, PoE devices are now being integrated across additional building systems, including lighting, computers, and HVAC controls. Since PoE devices are connected to network switches, energy monitoring and management can be performed through the IT network management software. Data and results from technology validations are still very limited for PoE equipment. This lack of information hinders higher adoption as its benefits and challenges have been insufficiently quantified in real-world scenarios. The use of IT network switches to power and control lighting, plug loads, and HVAC were demonstrated at a variety of sites including offices, schools, and a hotel. This paper presents the findings of a three-year DOE-/State of Minnesota-funded project that demonstrated and assessed the energy and non-energy benefits of Power over Ethernet (PoE) technologies at four commercial/institutional sites. The goals of the demonstrations were to: (1)assess the receptiveness of commercial and institutional markets to these new technologies, (2)demonstrate the feasibility of PoE technologies within standard design/construction practices and commercial codes, (3)assess the energy and cost savings opportunities of these technologies, (4)provide energy management opportunities where they typically are not available, and (5)formulate approaches to spur adoption of these technologies in the marketplace.