Monday, November 13, 2023
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Pathways to Commercial Building Plug and Process Load Energy Reduction
Session ID
C2 - Green Businesses
Amy LeBar

To accomplish net-zero carbon in the built environment by 2050, work needs to be done to equitably decarbonize commercial buildings. Plug and process loads (PPLs) are plug-in or hardwired electric and gas loads that are not directly associated with major building end uses like lighting and heating ventilation and air-conditioning. PPLs account for a significant portion of U.S. commercial building energy consumption. This energy consumption is highly occupant behavior-dependent as occupants directly interact with many of these loads. There are energy reduction strategies and commercialized PPL control technologies that have the potential to save 30% of PPL energy consumption but have struggled to achieve this when implemented and thus have not seen widespread uptake. Implementation of control technology needs to be paired with management strategies, such as occupant engagement and training, but this is not common practice. In this work, we research why these technologies and strategies have not seen widespread adoption and identify behavior and technology pathways to increased PPL reduction in commercial buildings. We dig into the behaviors of building occupants, building owners, facility operators, and sustainability managers through interviews and a workshop. We cross-reference findings of qualitative analysis with in-depth technical knowledge of existing PPL control technologies on the market and common energy reduction strategies and policies. This work found that increasing access to cost and energy savings data will promote uptake of PPL control technologies. Additionally, building end-use submetering and PPL disaggregation will provide stakeholders with visibility into specific opportunities for PPL energy savings. Addressing the split-incentive problem will increase PPL reduction as it is a hurdle for building owners wanting to implement PPL control technologies. A notable pathway to PPL reductions is incorporating energy efficiency into products, such as specification at the design and manufacturing levels, though regulation would be needed to deploy this strategy.

Supporting Document 1