4 Tips for Reducing Plug Load

Advacned Power Strips infographic
CREDIT: National Renewable Energy Laboratory

A plug load is any device that plugs into a building’s electrical system. Common examples include appliances in coffee break areas, computers, printers, monitors and cell phone chargers. In commercial buildings, plug load is the fastest grower in uses of energy, with an expected 36% increase by 2030.

Much of that use is caused by electronics drawing energy while not in use. You can dramatically reduce wasted energy by following these tips:

>> Unplug devices that aren’t in use. This includes eliminating and unplugging unnecessary devices. If your cell phone has finished charging, unplug the charger to avoid a vampire load.

>> Switch to ENERGY STAR qualified devices with low standby power use when purchasing new products or looking to replace older, less energy-efficient equipment. Set computers, laptops, printers and other devices to sleep mode after 15 to 30 minutes of inactivity.

>> Use advanced power strips. They’re easy to use, remarkably affordable and can save you both energy and money! Many models have features that allow you to designate a primary device, dependent devices and dedicated devices that must always remain on.

>> Use LED task lights. They produce bright light, run cool and consume as little as six to nine watts versus other more energy demanding options like halogen and incandescent bulbs. If your LED task light has a dimmer, consider using it; brightness has the biggest impact on energy use and it’s often set too high.

Last Reviewed 2016-09-24