Advanced Power Strips for Office Environments – Research Report

Emerging Technologies Research Report; Advanced Power Strips for Office Environments

Brian McCowan, ERS, August 8, 2013

This report presents the results of primary research conducted to better determine the potential for energy savings through the utilization of advanced power strips (APS) in commercial environments, and to determine appropriate methodologies for assessing the savings. The primary research conducted is part of a continuing effort to assess several emerging technologies and innovative program approaches by the Regional Evaluation, Monitoring and Verification Forum (EM&V Forum or Forum) managed by the Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP).

Prior to conducting this primary research, secondary research was conducted for several emerging technologies, one of which was APS. Other technologies investigated include: ductless heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, set-top boxes for home entertainment, LED lighting, and biomass pellet heating systems.1 The goals of the secondary research were to provide performance and savings guidelines allowing the Forum members to develop measures and programs that realize measurable savings, and to identify knowledge gaps that require further study to close. APS was one of two technologies (ductless heat pumps being the other) selected by the Forum membership for primary research.
APS products can be utilized to control a variety of residential and commercial plug loads. The focus of this effort is on commercial office applications. The primary field research for this study was conducted at two commercial office buildings in the State of Vermont. Twenty workstations in each building were monitored for power consumption patterns for a period of 2 weeks. The collected data was uploaded to custom spreadsheet tools, and the potential savings for Tier 1 APS systems were evaluated. The results demonstrate that there are obtainable savings, but the savings are relatively small given the current state of APS Tier 1 technology and the challenges associated with both the interface with PC operating systems and commercial office work environments.

Although this trial was focused on commonly available Tier 1 APSs, emerging Tier 2 APS devices promise a number of advantages over Tier 1 in terms of interfacing with PCs and energy savings potential. The data collected for this study could potentially be further analyzed to identify the additional savings potential of Tier 2 devices. The results from Tier 1 APS are summarized below.

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