Navigating Cybersecurity Implications of Smart Outlets

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Plug and process loads (PPLs) consume approximately one third of U.S. buildings' energy budget. As other equipment becomes more efficient, and plug-in devices diversify in the market, the percentage of PPL energy consumption is forecasted to grow. To help combat this growth, new wireless metering and control technologies (also known as 'smart outlets') are helping building owners to collect plug load data, understand usage patterns, and implement controls. Adoption of these new connected technologies motivates serious cybersecurity consideration. Because these new technologies are developing at such a rapid pace, the aim of this paper is to inform thinking about cybersecurity issues and the risks that they impose. Through this lens, we explore the pros and cons of plug load controllers, provide a framework for assessing cybersecurity of connected devices such as plug load controllers, and offer an example of how commercial building owners could use this framework to minimize their cybersecurity risks when adopting smart products. In providing this framework, this paper aims to remove some barriers to implementation of these energy efficient technologies in the built environment.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings - Pacific Grove, California
Duration: 12 Aug 201817 Aug 2018


Conference2018 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings
CityPacific Grove, California

Bibliographical note

Available from ACEEE: see

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-71185


  • cybersecurity
  • energy efficient
  • plug loads


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