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Energy in Buildings

Miscellaneous and Electronic Loads Research (MELs, or Plug-in Devices)


Plug-in devices can consume from 10% to 50% of the total energy used in a commercial building and up to 60% in residential buildings. These devices include computers, monitors, task lights, fans, portable heaters, Ethernet switches, and printers, and many others devices that plug into the wall. Plug-in devices have been studied for ~ 20 years, and yet effective energy-savings measures remain elusive. There are a number of contributing reasons:

This study aims to empirically understand what devices are responsible for energy use, at what times, for what purposes. To estimate the potential for reducing energy use by plug-in devices, the field data collected in this project on usage patterns, power states, etc. will address critical information gaps.

Project Description

In this study we will inventory the plug-in devices located in commercial and residential buildings, select some or all of the equipment for measurement, and install a device-level electricity meter to monitor the energy use of that device. We plan to collect measurement data for several months to provide high quality estimates of annual energy use and usage patterns.

Potential Benefits of Research

This project will benefit society in a number of ways, as research results can be used for:

A summary of study results will be posted on project website, and the link distributed to Building 90 occupants.

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This research is funded by the US Department of Energy

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