Impacts of Office Plug Load Reduction Strategies

Executive Summary

Plug load energy used by everything from computers to water coolers represents a relatively 
untapped energy savings resource in commercial buildings. And these loads, defined as all 
electric end uses that are not HVAC, lighting, or DHW, are increasing (CBECS 2016). This is 
especially true in contrast to other end uses. There is a need for those in the commercial 
buildings industry to both identify and quantify strategies for reducing these loads. 
Seventhwave, along with the Center for Energy and Environment and LHB have completed a 
field research study to demonstrate and measure the savings from potential plug load reduction 
strategies in office buildings. We also characterized the types of devices and baseline usage in 
those offices, and documented occupant acceptance, operational issues, and cost-effectiveness of 
reduction strategies. 

We used what we learned to identify actions that utilities and policy makers could take, 
including increasing the impact of these strategies in Conservation Improvement Programs 
(CIPs) in Minnesota. We also put plug loads into context and established some best practices for 
building designers and operators. 

This project supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources through the Conservation Applied Research and Development (CARD) program.

Full Report (PDF):
Impacts of Office Plug Load Reduction Strategies