Integrated Design Lab Series - Washington State University Product Council

February 14, 2023 - Shelby Ruiz, Research Project Manager at the Washington IDL shared findings from a recent study: “I’ve Got the Power: Empowered Occupants Save Energy through a University Tenant Engagement Program.” The study sought to assess the scalability, energy reduction and cost savings potential of a tenant engagement program and installation of Smart Power Strips (SPS) in commercial office settings.

The Energy and Comfort at WSU program is supported by three pillars: energy efficiency in buildings, full-time staff and faculty comfort and well-being, and creating a community of sustainable building occupants. This tenant engagement program is a social intervention campaign driven by routine in-person and remote communication to build relationships and encourage positive behaviors in university building occupants. The approach enables energy-focused intervention offerings, including SPS installations, to address common comfort issues that building occupants experience and to conserve energy by eliminating plug loads. The SPS installation alone eliminates 41% of pre-strip plug loads. In addition to other engagement efforts, it is estimated that annual building energy savings are between 1.5 and 10% depending on environmental conditions and user behaviors.

This presentation focused on the existing findings of the feasibility study conducted in years past, outcomes of smart power strip implementation to date, and plans for expanding the project to more of the WSU Pullman campus.

For more, check out the WSU ID+CLs podcast, "Building HEROes" educational series.

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