Monitoring and Characterization of Miscellaneous Electrical Loads in a Large Retail Environment

Luigi Gentile Polese, Stephen Frank, Nicholas Long, Chad Lobato, Emily Rader, Jeff Smith, Michael Sheppy

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Buildings account for 40% of primary energy consumption in the United States (residential 22%; commercial 18%). Most (70% residential and 79% commercial) is used as electricity. Thus, almost 30% of U.S. primary energy is used to provide electricity to buildings. Plug loads play an increasingly critical role in reducing energy use in new buildings (because of their increased efficiencyrequirements), and in existing buildings (as a significant energy savings opportunity). If all installed commercial building miscellaneous electrical loads (CMELs) were replaced with energy-efficient equipment, a potential annual energy saving of 175 TWh, or 35% of the 504 TWh annual energy use devoted to MELs, could be achieved. This energy saving is equivalent to the annual energy productionof 14 average-sized nuclear power plants. To meet DOE's long-term goals of reducing commercial building energy use and carbon emissions, the energy efficiency community must better understand the components and drivers of CMEL energy use, and develop effective reduction strategies. These goals can be facilitated through improved data collection and monitoring methodologies, and evaluation ofCMELs energy-saving techniques.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages48
StatePublished - 2014

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-60668


  • CMEL
  • commercial building miscellaneous electrical load
  • MEL
  • miscellaneous electrical loads
  • plug and process loads (PPL)
  • PPL
  • retail


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