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diagram of nrel's guidance about power strips

NREL provides guidance on advanced power strips

Between Thanksgiving and the cusp of a new year, many of us feel the festive energy. Burning lots of energy seems to go along with celebrating – think of all those holiday lights and cookies we bake. But that extra energy use also gives everyone the opportunity to make an impact on the use of the energy in our buildings .

Give your energy budget a gift through a holiday shutdown plan for buildings where you spend time: an office building, school, or even your home if you’re away.

For your personal home and office holiday shutdown list, take a look at the do-it-yourself energy savings tips compiled by DOER. For information on advanced power strips to reduce plug and “vampire” loads, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, has a great guide. And get your organization to start using a building management system to schedule a shutdown of energy-intensive equipment.

Massachusetts’ Leading by Example (LBE) program, managed by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), uses real-time data to reduce energy use and cost at state facilities­­. This covers 460 buildings, from office buildings to university campuses,  covering 25 million square feet.holiday-shutdown

The  Enterprise Energy Management System tracks real-time data from electric and thermal meters to enable state program managers to react in real-time to energy spikes or problems, then target long-term energy efficiency improvement opportunities. This information is especially valuable to monitor energy use during the holidays, when so many facilities are unoccupied, and measure the outcomes of holiday shutdown practices, adjusting them as needed . On Thanksgiving Day alone, LBE’s partners across the Commonwealth, from state agencies to public higher education campuses, used the Enterprise Energy Management System to avoid energy costs of $17,699 (compared to energy usage the Thursday prior). That is impressive for just one day.

Massachusetts state government is working to “lead by example” through its energy efforts. We all have lots of options to be energy efficient during the holidays. For example, UMass Lowell developed a holiday shutdown checklist for its campus, focused in large part on office equipment – computers, printers, copiers – and other “plug loads.” Many of those tips can apply to all of us, in homes,  businesses, and municipal buildings.

By “shutting down” this holiday season, we can “start up” 2015 as another year of Massachusetts as the national leader in energy efficiency. Let’s shoot for five in a row.

Written By:


Sustainability Project Coordinator

Trey Gowdy coordinates efficiency and sustainability projects with the Leading By Example Program (LBE) in DOER. LBE meets the ambitious clean energy goals for state government in Executive Order 484. Trey is especially interested in using innovative technologies and outreach strategies to reduce the environmental impact of operations in the Commonwealth. Prior to joining DOER, he worked as the Campus Sustainability Associate at Florida State University. Outside of the office, Trey enjoys running in Boston and traveling to new places.

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