NREL, US Navy Reduce Plug Loads
In partnership with the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) recently demonstrated eight energy efficiency technologies at installations in Hawaii and Guam. In one instance, NREL identified advanced plug load controls as a good investment for the Navy.
Advanced power strips, a plug load control technology that cuts power to devices plugged into electrical outlets when they are not in use, were installed in 30 residences and an office building with capacity for roughly 100 staff. While plug load savings depend on what can be turned off and for how long, the demonstration identified measurable savings.
In the office setting, the elimination of unnecessary nighttime and weekend plug loads reduced overall plug load use by 28 percent and lowered the entire building’s energy consumption by 8 percent, saving the Navy 15 MWh per year. Given the small investment required, this office application will pay for itself in less than two years.
The NREL-Navy collaboration began in August 2011 as part of a project focused on identifying underutilized commercial technologies that could help meet the Navy’s ambitious energy goals of producing at least 50 percent of shore-based energy from alternative sources and ensuring that 50 percent of Navy and Marine Corps installations will be net-zero energy.
DOD is the biggest energy user in the United States: the agency accounts for 80 percent of federal energy use, spending $19.4 billion on energy in 2011. In Hawaii and Guam the predominant source of electricity is imported petroleum.
Photo: Battleships via Shutterstock
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