To a large extent, our economy runs on small businesses, and small business run on a lot of energy. To compete with modern demand, it’s important for even the smallest establishment to maintain their connectivity to be able to plug away at their work.
Astonishingly, plug and process loads (PPLs) consume about 33 percent of primary energy in US commercial buildings, which equates to about $56 billion in energy costs per year. And this is projected to grow to 35 percent of total commercial building energy use by 2025 because of increases in the number of plug-in devices and the energy intensity of those devices.
At the same time, business buildings are only occupied one-third of the time, on average, being empty at nights, weekends and holidays.
So, there’s an enormous opportunity to promote significant energy savings by turning PPLs off during these off times, and whenever workspaces and common areas are not in use.
This is where advanced power strips (APSs) come into play. They are ideally suited to help businesses take advantage of this opportunity—and different types are best for different situations. Let’s take a look at the benefits of installing APSs in specific commercial contexts, to help you provide the best options for your customers.
The Best Advanced Power Strips by Sector
1. Small business office settings
Scheduled timer power strip
Timer power strips that automatically energize and de-energize outlets based on a pre-set schedule are ideal for small business office settings, especially workstation areas, but also including conference rooms, break rooms and printer rooms.
Desk-based technologies and other office building electronics draw a large amount of power, some of it constantly, day and night. In fact, roughly 25 percent of total electricity consumed in office buildings is attributable to plug loads. And all that perpetually powered up office equipment adds to cooling loads, too.
A GSA study looked different APS strategies to reduce plug-load, and the results showed that the schedule-based timer APS was the most effective, reducing plug loads at workstations by 26 percent, even though advanced computer power management was already in place, and by nearly 50 percent in printer rooms and kitchens.
The largest savings were made when the timer APSs were applied to devices that were usually powered constantly, like printers and copiers, and kitchen appliances like coffee makers and water coolers. In these applications, the payback periods were only about 1 year.
Timer APSs are super simple to operate, which is vital in winning users over. In the GSA survey, most office workers said they were happy to program their power strip to reflect their personal work schedules, but they didn’t want any more control than that. They also wanted an easily accessible manual override, which timer APSs certainly provide.
Activity monitor APSs
Activity monitor APSs are also effective in small business settings. In another study, a Washington DC real estate company called Tower Companies installed motion-sensor APSs in one of their office buildings, at workstations and in printer rooms. They recorded a 6 percent reduction in plug load energy use during working hours and 29 percent reduction during non-working hours.
Activity monitor power strips at workstations may be better suited for users who tend to have multiple meetings and are away from their computers many times a day. For example, if a worker leaves her desk, the APS will sense the computer’s inactivity after a set period of time and put it into a low-power standby mode (rather than a complete shutdown, to avoid data interruptions), at the same time de-energizing all peripheral devices. In conference rooms and break rooms, which are used intermittently and unpredictably, activity monitor power strips are also ideal.
The bottom line
Timer power strips, master-controlled power strips and remote switch APSs may be better for users who remain at their workstations for longer and more predictable periods of time, and those who regularly turn off or disconnect their primary device at the end of the day.
2. Small retail businesses
Timer power strips, remote switch power strips and controlled outlet power strips work very well in electronic display areas involving TV displays, in computer and cellphone tryout stations, in cosmetic lights-and-mirror stations, and in jewelry light stations, for example.
In cashier aisles—involving cash registers, conveyor belts, aisle lights, and so on—again timer power strips, remote switch power strips and controlled outlet power strips are ideal.
3. Small hotel businesses
In hotel gyms, games rooms and party rooms—with intermittently used workout equipment like treadmills and elliptical machines, TVs, sound systems, speakers and other plug-in equipment—timer power strips, activity monitor power strips and remote switch power strips work well.
For in-room entertainment systems—involving TVs, DVD players, games consoles, speakers, lamps, and so on—a master-controlled power strip that de-energizes peripheral devices when the primary device turns off is perfect. Remote switch power strips that enable users to easily turn off the entire power strip via a remote switch also work well.
For hotel business centers and offices that are used intermittently, activity monitor power strips that energize and de-energize computers, monitors, printers and so on in response to motion detected in a room are ideal.
At the end of the day, any APS allows your small business customers to save energy costs cheaply, safely and almost effortlessly. Guiding them to choose the right APS for their unique business operations structure helps put their best foot forward in reducing their overall usage and helps you make great strides in your utility’s programs.
Discover AM Conservation Group’s wide variety of APSs that you can start offering to your small business customers or members today!