In the field: what can we do about the growing electrical consumption from plug-in devices?

The Energy Center of Wisconsin is helping to shape the direction of energy efficiency programs targeting plug-in devices. We're fielding a research project in Minnesota throughout 2009 investigating the potential savings associated with consumer electronics and entertainment devices.

Consumer electronics and entertainment systems represent one of the fastest growing residential electric loads. As energy efficiency advocates begin to turn their attention to the savings opportunities from these devices, this Energy Center research project is poised to provide valuable insights.

The Energy Center's "Plugging Into Savings" research project will combine 1,000 telephone survey completions, 310 appliance saturation surveys, and in-depth studies of 50 Minnesota homes to explore the energy performance, operational practices, and user attitudes driving this growing electrical load. In-home studies include metering of 15-20 electricity-using devices per home for a month and an interview with household occupants. In many homes, researchers are also testing brightness levels and occupancy near a TV or computer during the device's operation.

The goal is to develop and screen strategies to reduce electricity consumption by residential plug-in devices in Minnesota and elsewhere. The project is funded by a grant from the Minnesota Office of Energy Security and supplemental funding from Minnesota Power.

For information on energy efficient home electronic products, visit Energy Star at www.energystar.gov.