Assessing and Reducing Plug and Process Loads in Office Buildings

Research output: NRELBrochure


Plug and process loads (PPLs) account for 33% of U.S. commercial building electricity consumption (McKenney et al. 2010). (See Figure 1.) Minimizing these loads is a significant challenge in the design and operation of an energy-efficient building. Lobato et al. (2011) and Lobato et al. (2012) define PPLs as energy loads that are not related to general lighting, heating, ventilation, cooling, and water heating, and that typically do not provide comfort to the occupants. The percentage of total building energy use from PPLs is increasing. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), by 2030, commercial building energy consumption is expected to increase by 24%; PPL energy consumption is anticipated to increase by 49% in the same time frame (DOE 2010). These trends illustrate the importance of PPL energy reduction to achieve an overall goal of reducing whole-building energy consumption.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/BR-5500-76994


  • Buildings
  • office building
  • plug loads
  • process loads


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