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The Plug Load Opportunity

Plug loads are energy used by products that are plugged into an outlet.

Devices and appliances plugged into wall sockets and power strips can use energy even when they are not turned on or in use – often referred to as phantom loads.

Studies show that plug loads are over 30% of a college's total energy consumption, presenting a significant opportunity for energy savings.


Willdan’s APMD Program

Community colleges across California are participating in an emerging technology study funded by the California Energy Commission (CEC). This project, managed by Willdan, focuses on testing next-generation plug load controls. With projected deployment of 55,000 APMD units across 15 community college campuses, and 3.3 million square feet of impacted building space, this study is the first of its scale.* 

Project labor is provided by the California Conservation Corps (CCC), a state agency program for 18-25 year-olds that offers work in environmental conservation, fire protection, land maintenance, and emergency response to natural disasters. These paid positions help prepare Californian youth for the workforce while tackling important work for the environment.

Willdan is analyzing the performance of two plug load controllers, the Ibis Intelisocket and the Embertec Emberstrip 8PC+, which help to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by making sure devices only use energy when needed.

*To-date, APMD demonstration projects have only been conducted on a small scale (<100 units), and with single test sites.



Project Highlights

For every 1,000 units installed, participating district will receive the following benefits:

  • Free equipment (covered by CEC grant)

  • Free installation (provided by CCC, funded by CEC grant)

  • Estimated $17,000+ in electricity annual cost savings

  • Project management services (provided by NAM/Willdan)

  • Funds available to defray district costs, up to $3,000 per district

  • No additional costs to district post-program participation



Additional Information: