City of Pittsburgh Plug Load
Energy Management

Through intelligent scheduling of device off times to match periods when the equipment is not utilized or when the building is unoccupied, facilities are able to achieve significant energy savings with simple paybacks of under one year for deployment of Smart Plugs.

Smart Plugs Reduce Energy Consumption

The City of Pittsburgh, BOSS Controls, Carnegie Mellon University and other private entities joined forces to showcase that it is possible to optimize the human experience with autonomous energy efficiency and demand response load shedding. What was once a concept is now reality and together they participated in the Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) to prove it.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

As part of the Global City Teams Challenge program, BOSS and its partners demonstrated the ability of plug load power measurement and control to achieve rapid energy savings for buildings. At no cost to the City, BOSS Controls installed smart plugs on various devices in City of Pittsburgh buildings, Carnegie Mellon University, and the US Steel Tower. Devices are being installed on, but not limited to window air conditioning units, vending machines, and water coolers. When not in use, the devices will turn off, and result in energy and cost savings.

Equipment connected to building receptacles draw a considerable amount of power, often on a 24/7 basis. Based on US Department of Energy estimates, this “plug load” accounts for approximately 25% of the electricity used within commercial buildings. The BOSS Smart Plug family of products is designed to address this opportunity to enable energy and operational savings. Through intelligent scheduling of device off times to match periods when the equipment is not utilized or when the building is unoccupied, facilities are able to achieve significant energy savings with simple paybacks of under one year for deployment of Smart Plugs. By leveraging existing network infrastructure, the BOSS Smart Plugs family enables centralized monitoring and control of the connected devices via standard web browsers and mobile applications. Furthermore, the connected Smart Plugs provide a means to support advanced applications including demand response and peak load management.

This case study provides comprehensive information on achieving over 53% energy and electricity expenditure reduction by utilizing the BOSS Smart Plugs.

What is the Global City Teams Challenge?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and US Ignite launched the GCTC in the fall of 2014 and since then, this challenge has captured the attention of public-private partnerships that together have adopted and accelerated Internet of Things (IoT) deployments within smart city/smart community environments.

BOSS and the GCTC Project Summary

  • The project goal was to demonstrate plug load power measurement & control and achieve rapid energy savings to buildings

  • Prove ability to aggregate plug loads across multiple buildings for demand response events

  • Provide utilities a virtual power plant and reduce peak demand costs and emissions

  • Prove ability to provide autonomous energy efficiency capability, while adjusting to multiple inputs such as real time energy costs to enable additional savings

  • Optimize end user experience

Top Usage Devices


Coffee Pots

Soda and Snack Machines

Water Coolers/Fountains

Demonstrated Results

The program demonstrated the following key results:

  • Schedule-based control has substantial energy savings.

    Use of schedule-based shutdown during unoccupied periods results in substantial energy savings in excess of 50%.

  • Equipment with the highest energy consumption has the greatest benefit.

    On a total energy savings basis, the benefit is the largest for the equipment with the highest energy consumption (e.g., soda vending machines) with a lower benefit for equipment that has low consumption or low unoccupied consumption (e.g., water fountains, copiers)

  • Short payback period

    For the Smart Plugs installed in this study, the simple payback for all areas is less than 1 year with simple payback as short as 4 months for high energy consuming equipment.

  • Justification for wide deployment

    The energy savings, short simple payback, and verifiable results substantiate wider deployments throughout the selected facilities.

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.
Start your zero-risk trial