The key to harnessing big savings from small power loads

    In nearly every building, there are many devices that use power around the clock – even if they’re not powered on. These devices are drawing energy just by being plugged in.

    If you work in an office building, healthcare facility, school or other building, you may see multiple computer monitors on desks as well as televisions and other screens throughout the workplace. When you calculate the number of plugged in devices across a building drawing energy even not when in use, the potential cost can be significant. For example, a federal facility with 500 workstations could achieve annual savings of $25,000, amounting to $125,000 over five years. [i]

    The good news is there a solution to help lessen this energy use. Plug load technology, otherwise known as automatic receptacle control, can help reduce potentially wasted energy through use scheduling. For example, computer monitor plugs can be programmed to turn off completely at 9:00 p.m. and reactivate at 5:00 a.m. to align with employee work hours.

    The same strategy can be expanded to cover devices throughout a building, including coffee machines, printers, copiers and more. Many of these devices are plugged in and running continuously even when not in use, presenting an opportunity to help enhance energy management initiatives.

    Saving power starts at the plug

    Today, depending on the facility and region, plug load can represent up to 47% of the total energy consumed [ii] in an office building. Strategies such as smart scheduling of devices make it possible to help reduce that energy consumption by 43%[iii] This means businesses can achieve energy and cost savings just by better managing their plugs.

    Technology and equipment can be automated and put on a schedule, with solutions like Honeywell Connected Power, so it doesn’t use energy when not in use. Honeywell Connected Power helps maintain a consistent supply of electricity to equipment when it’s needed – and turn off the supply when the equipment is not in use. A study by Cranfield University in the UK showed that the capacity to control plug power can provide energy savings of an average of 60.9%[iv]

    Honeywell Connected Power can also monitor individual outlets and reveal what sockets devices are plugged into, which introduces a variety of use cases, inside and outside office buildings. Let’s look at refrigeration. Pharmaceutical companies require refrigeration for temperature-sensitive drugs and medications. Restaurants need to keep food at specific temperatures to avoid spoilage and product loss. Power disruptions can cause material damage in both instances. With a solution designed to manage plug use and maintain power, organizations can better monitor temperatures and prevent mishaps.

    Automating operations with AI

    In the future, smart sockets will harness AI technology, enabling them to sense variables like occupancy levels and footfall traffic and react automatically. Supplied with the relevant data, these sockets will be able to make adjustments on their own, without manual input from operators. Better still, by interfacing with a building management system, AI will be able to autonomously create a smart schedule aimed at maximizing energy efficiency while maintaining an optimal experience for occupants.

    Another area where smart sockets will have an impact is power signature analysis. Think again of refrigeration. When its coolant level drops, the refrigerator will start to draw more power to keep food or beverages cold. That power signature can be monitored by a building management system and flag the anomalous behavior. Operators then know when an asset needs maintenance or when it might be approaching failure and ready for replacement.

    The potential of power outlets

    Buildings have an enormous impact on global energy consumption, accounting for a significant  37% of the world’s energy and process-related CO2 emissions. [v] While energy saving initiatives like LED lighting retrofits and solar panels are often the center of attention, the humble power socket often goes ignored.

    This is an oversight, especially amid growing concern about sustainability and energy use. By paying greater attention to their power outlets, building operators can manage their energy usage and positively contribute to their sustainability goals.

    Connect with a Honeywell expert today to learn more.


    [i] GSA.gov, Plug Load Nuggets, February 2024, [Accessed April 11, 2024]

    [ii] National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Assessing and Reducing Plug and Process Loads in Office Buildings, [Accessed April 15, 2024]

    [iii] National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Assessing and Reducing Plug and Process Loads in Office Buildings, [Accessed April 15, 2024]

    [iv] Honeywell, Introducing the Connected Power Solution, University Estate [Accessed March 25, 2023].  A 15 Day baseline was taken from 28th Feb - 15th March 2022 Scheduling was then Implemented through the Connected Power module in Trend IQVISION from 15th March 2022.

    [v] United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2022 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction, Nov 09, 2022 [Accessed Feb 9, 2023]