Understanding Plug and Process Load Controls for Your Buildings

This toolkit provides guidance on understanding the numerous strategies for reducing plug and process load (PPL) energy consumption in your buildings, including how to select the right strategy for devices, building types, and occupant needs to maximize energy savings.


PPL Control Strategy Guidance

Assessing and Reducing Plug and Process Loads in Office Buildings
This guide will help office building owners and energy managers reduce PPL energy use. It includes a process for developing a PPL control strategy for office buildings.

Assessing and Reducing Plug and Process Loads in Retail Buildings
This guide describes the process needed to cost-effectively reduce PPL energy impact in retail buildings. It includes general and appliance-specific PPL control strategies.

Decision Guides for Plug and Process Load Controls
These decision guides were created to help building owners find the right control strategy for PPLs in their buildings.

Case in Point: Oregon’s Recent Efforts to Reduce Plug Load Energy Consumption
This webinar spotlights Oregon’s Statewide Plug Load Strategy, the state’s adoption of ASHRAE 90.1-2016 energy codes, and Oregon’s Energy and Resource Conservation Policy, which includes several components of the Plug Load Strategy.

Technical Guidance

Plug and Process Loads in Commercial Buildings: Capacity and Power Requirement Analysis
Prospective building occupants and real estate brokers need accurate references for PPL capacity requirements. This brochure has references that can help reduce the plug load capacities designed into buildings.

Advanced Power Strips

How To Use Advanced Power Strips in an Office
Each advanced power strip (APS) has three outlet types for equipment with various electricity needs. This infographic from NREL describes the uses for each outlet type to help determine the smartest way to power office devices and save energy.

Technical Specifications for Advanced Power Strips
This specification provides detailed selection criteria for five major APSs and sets standards for modeling them. It is intended to help those who procure APSs select the most effective models for their commercial buildings.

Leveraging the Advanced Power Strip (APS) Technical Specification for Commercial Buildings
This webinar walks through the details of DOE's APS specification and provides examples of how stakeholders can apply it (e.g., tenants in leased spaces, building owners and managers across their portfolios, utilities for energy incentive programs).

Automatic Receptacle Control

Automatic Receptacle Controls: Adjusting to New Code Requirements for Plug Load Controls
This webinar focuses on automatic receptacle controls – a method for reducing plug load energy consumption – and their inclusion in the 2021 IECC code cycle, as well as a study of how the code requirements are affecting various stakeholders.

Case Studies

Office Building Plug Load Disaggregation Reveals Energy Savings Opportunities
To monitor thousands of plug loads in modern large buildings, researchers at NREL combined a limited amount of smart plug metering with a device inventory to develop a disaggregated breakdown of device-level power consumption.

Plug Load Strategies for Zero Energy Buildings
The General Services Administration's (GSA) Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse earned LEED Platinum certification by reducing its energy consumption, with a significant focus on reducing PPL energy use.

Reducing Office Plug Loads with Simple and Inexpensive Advanced Power Strips
This paper documents the process (and results) of applying advanced power strips with various control approaches, including manual control, automatic low-power state, schedule timers, load-sensing, occupancy, and vacancy.

Plug Load Control: Advanced Power Strips Decrease Energy Consumption
GSA assessed the effectiveness of APS in managing plug load energy consumption in its buildings, evaluating three strategies: schedule timer control, load-sensing control, and a combination of the two. Schedule-based functionality reduced plug loads at workstations by 26% and nearly 50% in printer rooms and kitchens.

Utility Incentives

Plug Load Efficiency Utility Incentives
Download this list of incentives and rebates for plug and process load controls that are offered by utilities across the country.