With energy-consuming equipment, such as water heaters and refrigerators, we have good data on energy consumption and can set clear standards accordingly. In some product categories—clothes washers, for example—Energy Star standards were adopted because those standards provide a high enough threshold to represent just the very top segment of the product market (less than 10%). In other product categories—e.g., refrigerators and dishwashers—we set a higher threshold than ENERGY STAR: for example, exceeding those standards by 10% or 20%. With lighting and lighting control equipment, certain generic products qualify, such as compact fluorescent lamps and occupancy/daylighting controls, while in other categories only a subset of products qualify. In some cases, products that meet the energy efficiency requirements are excluded, because of evidence of poor performance or durability. Microturbines are included here because of the potential for cogeneration (combined heat and power) that they offer.
SafePlug Energy Manager
SafePlug electrical outlets can monitor and control appliances, protect occupants (particularly children) against shock, and monitor plugs against surges or discrepancies in the electrical flow that could lead to fires or damage to electrical equipment. The company’s Energy Manager system comes with an “Energy Server” and “Energy Manager Outlets.” The system can turn off appliances when not in use, turn on lights from smart phones and mobile devices, and can limit power use of appliances to specific times of day. SafePlug's system recognizes the appliance using RightPlug technology and can monitor its use, even if it is moved to a different outlet. The outlet and server do not require an Internet connection for communication, but the server can be connected via Ethernet or Wi-Fi for remote monitoring.
Plug loads—the energy consumed by plugged-in electronic devices—can consume a substantial amount of the total energy used in a residential or commercial building. Almost any appliance or equipment that is turned on or off by a button continues to use electricity when it is in standby mode or turned off. Entertainment systems, personal digital devices, computer monitors, modems, and wireless routers often consume electricity 24/7.
Plug loads can be particularly challenging to address because they are under the control of the occupants, not the design team. GreenSpec lists products that monitor and reduce electricity use for plugged-in electrical devices.
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