Utility Incentives for Commercial Building Plug Load Efficiency

By Better Buildings Beat Team on Jul 10, 2018

Plug and Process Loads (PPLs) are relatively easy to manage with the right equipment, as DOE’s Better Buildings Alliance Plug and Process Load (PPL) Technical Research Team can tell you. Obtaining that equipment can be even easier, thanks to utility incentives and rebates!

The PPL Tech Team has released the annual update of its database of utility incentives and rebates for plug load efficiency. This database includes a list of financial and other incentives offered by state and sponsor, which is often the electric utility or energy efficiency program administrator. The database groups the types of PPL incentives into five categories, shown in Figure 1 and explained below.                                                                         

Category Incentive Amount Details
Vending Machine Controllers Ranges from $10-$170 per control Includes controls for beverage and snack vending machines.  
Computer Power Management Software Varies; server virtualization incentives range from $100-375 per server or $60-250 per PC Includes virtualization servers/software and conversion to thin clients–personal computing systems with no secondary storage relying on a network connection to a central server (often in a data center) for full computing capabilities.
Advanced Power Strips (APS) Ranges from $4–$25 per strip Most do not distinguish between Tier 1 and Tier 2 APS incentives
Plug Load Occupancy Sensors Ranges from $5–$25 per sensor  
Plug Load ENERGY STAR® Equipment  Ranges from $5 per computing equipment (computers, monitors) to $1,200 for retrofit EC motor plug fans Includes electronically commutated (EC) plug fans for data centers, desktop computers, copiers, and other high efficiency plug load equipment.

Each year, there are changes in the quantity and types of rebates that are offered. Last year’s update saw the highest number of utilities offering incentives and the highest number of incentives being offered, highlighting a growing interest in commercial building plug load efficiency. This year, there are 76 new utilities in 32 states offering PPL incentives and 187 new incentives. The total number of PPL incentives decreased slightly (see Figure 2) due in large part to municipal utility incentive programs that vary from year to year.

There are many ways to improve plug load efficiency in commercial buildings, and utility incentives help defray the up-front costs. To find out what PPL incentives are available in your utility territory, download the new plug load efficiency utility incentives database, which is searchable by utility, state, and PPL category. You can also join the Better Buildings Alliance here and be a part of the Plug & Process Load Technology Research Team by opting in on the sign-up form.

Make sure you visit the PPL Tech Team on the Better Buildings Solution Center to learn more about the technologies, practices, and help available to optimize your plug load management.