Buildings End-Use Energy Efficiency Research - Equipment and Appliances

Consumer electronics have become more complex and consume more energy. Devices called "plug loads" are those that plug into electrical outlets, as opposed to being hard-wired. They do not fall into other traditional categories like HVAC, lighting, or large appliances. Plug loads often have external or internal power supplies so that most or all of the energy is used as low-voltage direct-current electricity. Examples include personal computers, televisions, and portable device chargers. As of 2010, plug loads consume approximately 15% of all building energy use, and that consumption is expected to grow to 29% in 2030.

PIER research has developed plug load innovations including:

  • External Single Volt Power Supply Test Procedure and Title 20 Standard.
  • Battery Charger Test Procedure and Title 20 Standard.
  • Television Test Procedure and Title 20 Standard.
  • Revised Energy Star specification for computers that included power factor correction.
  • Ultra low energy computers.
  • Energy Efficiency Ethernet specification IEEE 802.3AZ.

Foodservice in California represents a significant commercial energy savings opportunity. Commercial kitchens consume five times more energy per square foot than other types of commercial spaces. Despite the large operating cost associated with this end use and the number of facilities that can benefit from energy efficiency measures, there has been little motivation to develop and promote high-efficiency gas-fired cooking and water heating equipment. There is immense potential to increase the overall efficiency of commercial appliances, as the majority of appliances have full-load efficiencies in the 20% to 30% range, while their actual in-kitchen utilization efficiencies range from 5% to 10%. The majority of water heaters installed in foodservice facilities meet the minimum efficiency standard and have inefficient distribution systems.

PIER research has developed or influenced commercial kitchen products including:

  • Rocket fryer for zero-trans-fat oils.
  • Hybrid Tankless Water Heater.