Plug Load Control

Put Money Back in Your Pocket with Plug Load Control

Plug load control easily addresses one of the biggest concerns facing the owners and managers of larger buildings over the past decade or so has been sustainability. Green building has become not just an important way to reduce the harmful impact we have on our environment and the substantial energy costs that larger buildings incur, but also a way to create a healthier environment for the people within those buildings.

Green building has taken off. What some might have once considered just a trend is now a commonly shared goal. While some features, such as building automation, HVAC system upgrades, lighting upgrades and more, are considered no-brainers as far as increasing energy efficiency goes, other tactics are only starting to gain attention.

One of the tactics that can help to substantially lower energy use throughout large buildings is plug load control.

Download our Plug Load Control Implementation Checklist to start executing your strategy today.



What Exactly is a Building’s Plug Load?

Plug load is the term used for the electrical loads that are plugged into all the outlets throughout your building. So, all the electronics in the building (computers, printers, TVs, etc.) and appliances (refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, etc.) contribute to your plug load when they are plugged in to the outlet.

It can be hard to imagine that a building’s appliances and electronics have that much of an impact on the building’s energy use, especially when compared to things like the building’s lighting or heating and cooling operations. But what you may not realize is that even if these electronics and appliances are switched off, they are still absorbing electricity when they are plugged in. This is often referred to as standby power, vampire power or phantom loads.

Plug loads account for roughly 33 percent of all electricity consumption in American commercial buildings. As you can imagine, this makes plug load management an important aspect of energy conservation. But how exactly can you reduce your building’s plug load without having to manually unplug every electrical component and appliance whenever they are not in use?

By using plug load control.

What is Plug Load Control?

Plug load control is exactly what it sounds like – a method of controlling the electronics and appliances that are plugged into your outlets so that you’re not wasting energy on phantom loads.

There are many basic ways that you can implement a plug load management system. For example, you can install occupancy sensors or even connect certain outlets to a remote-control circuit breaker. But the most effective way to control plug load is through the use of an automated plug load control system.

An example of an automated plug load control system is BOSS Smart Plugs plus Atmospheres®. Smart Plugs are plug load management devices that plug into your appliances and electronics. You can then control the plug load receptacle remotely via a single network. This means that you will be able to completely cut off power to your electronics and appliances from anywhere – even outside of the building – via Atmospheres. Atmospheres is a special software program that can be used on a mobile device to manage plug load control.

In addition to being able to cut off all power from your building’s plug loads, you will also be able to program your Smart Plugs to turn on and off at specific points of the day. For example, you can program a vending machine to turn on right before the first person arrives in the office, or you can program the power to your TVs to turn off when the last person in the building generally leaves.

The Benefits of Plug Load Control

Whether you are running a commercial building, a government building or a school building, you’ll see immediate results when you execute plug load control.

Reduce your energy bills

It costs a lot of money to keep a building running and maintained, especially when it comes to energy use. By implementing plug load control, you can cut down on the energy you are using, thereby reducing your overall energy costs. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, the use of plug load control in their National Renewable Energy Laboratory allowed them to reduce their previous use of 2,257,000 kWh/year to 1,290,000 kWh/year, which resulted in slashing their energy costs by $58,000.

Protect the building’s electronics and appliances

Plug load control systems like BOSS Smart Plugs allow you to protect all your electronics and appliances. This is because they can absorb electrical line surges as well as help isolate equipment from any high or low line voltage. Plug load control also allows you to stagger your power turn on following a power failure.

Prevent electrical fires from breaking out

The ability to monitor your plug load remotely means that you can identify bad premise wire junctions as well as overloaded appliances and electronics before they overheat the building’s wires, which could result in a fire breaking out.

Turn off empty sockets

Sockets that aren’t being used can be automatically switched off, thereby reducing the electrical currents running through your building.

120 Smart Plug

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120 smart plug load control

220 Smart Plug

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220 smart plug load control

Getting Started with Plug Load Control

Getting started with plug load control is not as simple as just plugging something into an outlet and calling it a day. To ensure you getthe best results, here are a few steps you should take to begin taking advantage of the benefits of plug load control.

5 Quick Steps to Get Started with Plug Load Management Services
  1. Put someone in charge – Whether you’re the owner of the building or the manager, you may not have the time to oversee the plug load control of your building. You should appoint someone that can oversee your plug load control project. They need to have a good understanding of how your building uses energy so they can identify ways that you can reduce your energy use through plug load control.
  2. Measure current plug load – Determine how much energy is used through your building’s plug load so that you can effectively track the effectiveness of any plug load control strategies you put in place. You should also make sure to meter your plug loads during office or school hours as well as after hours, when the building is empty. You can use this data to help create an effective plug load control strategy.
  3. Run a baseline installation – When you work with BOSS, we will run a baseline installation to help you determine which plug loads to target. From there, you’ll work with the BOSS team to understand the data we’ve collected and use it to create the right plug load control strategy for your building.
  4. Create a plug load control strategy – A plan needs put in place to determine how to effectively program your Smart Plugs. This involves figuring out when the building or certain spaces within the building are empty, or when certain appliances and electronics aren’t being used. This allows you to cut their power during these periods of idleness.BOSS also uses data from the baseline installation to know how to prioritize plug loads.
  5. Deploy your plug load control strategy – Once you have your plug load control strategy in place, it’s time to deploy your Smart Plugs. BOSS makes this process easier, and can be rapidly deployed. Smart Plugs are installed quickly, with less cost and risk. Our intuitive Atmospheres platform makes it possible for us to deploy 10, 100, even 1,000 devices at the same time. That means you can start saving almost immediately!

If you are the owner or the manager of a large building, creating a healthy, sustainable environment and reducing the building’s overhead as much as possible should be top priorities. Plug load management should be a focus, to improve energy efficiency and reduce your building’s energy costs.

building background

What does your building cost to power?

Even when buildings are empty - which is about 70% of the time - they continue to use energy. Think about how that shrinks your budget. Powering these facilities is costing billions of dollars ever year.
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