Plug and process loads (PPLs) in commercial buildings account for almost 5% of U.S. primary energy consumption. Minimizing these loads is a primary challenge in the design and operation of an energy-efficient building. PPLs are not related to general lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling, and water heating, and typically do not provide comfort to the occupants. They use an increasingly large fraction of the building energy use pie because the number and variety of electrical devices have increased along with building system efficiency. Reducing PPLs is difficult because energy efficiency opportunities and the equipment needed to address PPL energy use in office spaces are poorly understood.
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Douglas County School District faced a challenging combination of aging equipment and buildings (most over 37 years old), rising energy costs, and limited access to taxpayer funds due to the fiscally-conservative makeup of the region’s voters. The district's leadership responded creatively by beginning with an energy savings performance contract (ESPC) that utilized a tax-exempt installment purchase agreement (IPA). This case study is excerpted from Financing Energy Upgrades for K-12 School Districts: A Guide to Tapping into Funding for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Improvements.
The Research Support Facility was designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind. Many of its innovative technologies use passive and active processes to provide energy for its operations, such as electricity, heating, and cooling. The goal of this unique office building is to reach net zero energy use by engaging staff in best energy practices.