Plugwise Study Results Present Reduction Opportunities for Building Plug Loads

Energy-Efficiency Study Shows That When Equipped With Necessary Tools, PNC Employees Consume Less Energy

PR Newswire Press Release, October 28, 2014

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC) recently participated in a Carnegie Mellon University study to confirm the extent to which employee behavior can improve the company’s energy efficiency.  This “Plugwise” study focused on how knowledge and control influence behavior and found that PNC employees who monitored their energy use and automated the timeframe for specific devices to turn on and off reduced their energy consumption by 38 percent.

“This finding demonstrates the potential for employees to drive energy and cost savings,” said Nana Wilberforce, PNC’s energy manager.  “It also highlights an opportunity for PNC and other companies to increase energy efficiency through education, as well as the adoption of the right technology.”

In December 2013, PNC installed Plugwise meters, which measure plug load, or the energy drawn by devices from an electrical outlet, at 80 Pittsburgh employees’ workstations.  These 80 employees were divided into four groups, each of which received a different amount of information and control.  The first group knew they were being monitored but received no information about their energy consumption. The second group received information through an energy dashboard that collected and displayed plug-load data in real time.  The third group also had access to the dashboard and could manually turn on and off specific devices through the use of a switchboard.  The fourth group had access to the dashboard and could automate when specific devices turned on and off.  After monitoring the data from the 80 employees for six months, PNC confirmed the following results:

  • Group one reduced overall energy consumption by 7 percent.
  • Group two reduced overall energy consumption by 13 percent.
  • Group three reduced overall energy consumption by 25 percent.
  • Group four, which received the most information and control, reduced overall energy consumption by 38 percent.

Further, energy consumption among group four increased by only four percent after the dashboards and automated controls were removed.  These results demonstrate that knowledge and control have a tremendous long-term influence on energy use.

Due to the study’s results, PNC plans to roll out plug-load meters and provide employees with access to dashboards and automated control across all of its U.S. branches and office buildings in 2015.

This collaboration between PNC and Carnegie Mellon has provided opportunities for both organizations to advance their work in energy efficiency.  PNC has learned innovative approaches to analyzing energy data while giving Carnegie Mellon, which provided the Plugwise meters and developed the energy dashboards, real-world applications and an extensive database of energy information.

The results of this study present an opportunity for businesses and building owners to reduce plug load, which accounts for about 30 percent of the energy consumed by U.S. commercial buildings.  By implementing similar technology, companies can significantly reduce their energy consumption and costs.

The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. ( is one of the United States’ largest diversified financial services organizations providing retail and business banking; residential mortgage banking; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management.


Emily Krull
(412) 762-5654

SOURCE PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.