Plug loads refer to energy used by equipment that is plugged into an outlet. In an office, key plug loads include computers and monitors, printers, and copiers. Plug loads can average approximately 30% of electricity use in office settings,1 much of which can be attributed to parasitic loads (or the power draw of a plug-load that is not performing useful work). Plug loads as a share of overall building energy use is higher in energy efficient buildings. In minimally code-compliant office buildings, plug loads may account for up to 25% of total energy consumption. But in high efficiency buildings, plug loads may account for more than 50% of the total energy consumption.
Visit SFTool.gov for more information on plug load management.