Architectural Engineering | Architecture
As industry pushes for further reductions in the energy consumption of buildings the era of net zero energy, zero carbon buildings has been realised. However, this frontier of highly efficient architecture has unveiled the considerably large problem of plug loads. In a typical office building plug load alone can account for 15% of total energy consumption. In a Net Zero Energy building that percentage can increase to 50+%. This paper discusses the reasons for this increasingly significant building energy load and the importance of reducing it. A methodological approach and results of monitoring the kWh consumption at plug level and room level within the main building of Cork Institute of Technology are presented. This achieved a benchmark of typical office energy usage that is then compared with the monitoring of kWh consumption at plug and room levels within the CIT Net Zero Energy Test-Bed. Calculations of true energy usage are made and potential savings identified. Finally methods of evaluation and emerging technologies are discussed, offering potential solutions to reduce plug load energy use.
O’Driscoll, C., O’Sullivan, G., Harrison, J., ‘The Reduction of plug loads: the next obstacle in Achieving Net Zero Energy Buildings’, National Maritime College of Ireland, CERC Conference, October 2013.