As a result of Stanford’s Plug Load Equipment Inventory in summer 2014, Office of Sustainability conducted pilots in four buildings of several basic energy efficiency measures that were estimated to have a return on investment of less than one year. Findings from the pilots revealed that Stanford would indeed see significant electricity savings from installing timers on water coolers, commercial coffee makers, hot water dispensers, and cable boxes. In total, these measures are expected to save $16,000 per year if implemented campus wide, with an average return on investment of less than eight months. Due to the significant savings, Office of Sustainability and Facilities Energy Management together launched a variation of the existing ERP Express program that will allow timers to be directly installed on these select types of equipment across campus at no cost to other departments. This direct-install program will be conducted by Office of Sustainability interns throughout the 2015-16 academic year.

Interestingly, these studies also revealed that some measures did not lead to the expected results. For instance, results varied significantly on the effectiveness of timers on standard and single-cup coffee makers, depending on usage patterns and how often they’re left turned on. Additionally, the equipment inventory revealed that over 2,000 desk lamps on campus still contain incandescent lightbulbs, but when incandescent bulbs were replaced with LEDs during the pilots, the average savings was shown to be only 4 kWh per year—or about $0.55—because the desk lamps were used so infrequently.

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