At last years Greenbuild, I attended a session on Net Zero Energy buildings. It was great to see and hear about the progress we are making at reducing HVAC and lighting loads in base building operations. As the pieces of the energy pie associated with these loads shrunk we realized that no one was doing much about reducing the plug loads and as a result, their percentage of the pie was growing – from about 20 percent to close to 50 percent.
It was great to see that there was a session devoted to looking at plug loads – both at home and in the office. I was surprised to hear that a cable set top box could draw as much as 100 watts 24/7.
I enjoyed hearing about some of the old and new technologies and strategies being deployed to “kill the vampires”:
- Buy ENERGY STAR appliances
- Use CFL lighting, turn it off if you are not using it
- Use power management software on your PCs and Printers
- Reduce the number of office equipment devices by replacing them with multifunction devices (print, scan, email, fax)
I liked hearing about some of the new devices being used to control plug loads:
- Power strips with a master-slave auto shut off function
- Power strips with motion sensors built in
- Timers being used to control the power to digital cable set top boxes and video games. They need to regain their “brains” when powered up)
- Interlock office equipment with building security systems – if no one is there, equipment should be turned off.
Utilizing these approaches can go a long way to killing the vampire loads!