Plugged-in appliances and electronics account for nearly half of residential electricity consumption, and more than 20% of commercial buildings’ electricity usage. Despite recent energy efficiency improvements of electric devices, the proliferation of new devices makes plug-loads the fastest growing end-use of electricity consumption. In addition to being a significant energy-consumer, plug load energy monitoring offers a unique opportunity to educate consumers on energy-saving strategies. Real-time energy consumption data for the devices that we engage with on a daily basis, such as computers, coffee makers and televisions, reveals to the consumer the energy drain of these devices. This lesson will translate into a consideration of the energy efficiency of new appliance and electronic purchases in order to minimize the electric bill, and an understanding of what types of devices consume the most energy. Heidi Perry of ThinkEco discusses case studies from a corporate employee engagement project and a residential window air conditioner demand-response program to demonstrate how plug-level energy consumption feedback via web and smart phone interfaces can engage consumers and lead to behavior change that reduces energy consumption.
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