Plug Load Analysis Highlights Computer Energy Waste

Nov. 3, 2014

Study shows difference between reported and measured occupant behavior

While the ubiquitous nature of computers in the workplace has increased energy consumption, a new study shows that power settings enabled by workers have a greater impact on plug loads than previously thought. Monitoring Computer Power Modes Usage in a University Population, by the University of California-Irvine, shows that while desktop computers are on up to 77% of the time, they are left in sleep mode 61% of the time. 

The study builds on the results of a previous survey of the same individuals that measured occupant perceptions of their desktop computers energy consumption vs. the effectiveness of energy management settings. While 84% of respondents reported using automatic power management, only 20% of the same participants actually had any of the settings enabled. The study also shows that the earlier respondents who rated themselves more knowledgeable about power management were more likely to place their computers in sleep mode, with less time in CPU-on and user-inactive mode.

Researchers point to these results as an opportunity for IT and facility professionals to increase education for occupants about energy usage. While a high percentage of people are knowledgeable and consider the effects their efforts can have on plug loads, more training on proper energy reduction practices needs to be done for buildings to see lower electricity consumption. 

Looking for ways help your occupants to save electricity? Bring out their competitive side! Power conservation games can be an easy way to inspire meaningful change. 

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