Research Focus Areas
Equipment, Appliances, & Plug Loads Research
With the assistance of PIER, researchers from Ecos Consulting and the Electric Power Research Institute were able to work with industry leaders to develop test procedures and take efficiency measurements of internal power supplies in modern electronics. This will help spur the development of standards and thus the spur development of more efficient power supplies.
Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) are vital for Data Centers continued operation in the event of power outages. While they have been thought to consumer large amounts of energy, the efficiencies of the power supplies have remained unknown and have lacked standardization. This study has identified the efficiencies of various (UPSs) under different operating conditions and identified potential energy savings that could be made if standards were to be put in place.
The typical data center will use an alternating current (AC)-based system to distribute its power, which requires multiple conversions from AC to direct current (DC). With the help of PIER, the Lawrence Berkeley Nation Laboratory demonstrated that by using DC-based power distribution systems, total system energy use can be reduced by up to 28 percent.
In California alone, approximately 28 million external power supplies were sold in 2003; the average efficiency of those power supplies was inexcusably low. With the help of PIER-funding, Ecos Consulting and the Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) created a standard testing procedure for single-volt power supplies. A Case Initiative was then prepared for PG&E by Ecos Consulting, the Davis Energy Group, and Energy Solutions to create the power supply standards that are now a part of Title 20.
In 2008, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star Program was able to create and launch labeling protocol for external power supplies in the United States and China. This protocol as well as the design guide and testing procedure created with PIER funding have led to increased development of efficient power supplies which has provided significant energy savings to Californians and the rest of the United States.
In an effort to better understand the energy use by consumer electronics, researchers from Ecos Consulting, EPRI Solutions, and RLW Analytics gathered data for the California Energy Commission, on use patterns, energy consumption, and load profiles on household electronics. This has helped bring clarity to what electronics are consuming energy and by doing so will help utilities and policy makers set higher standards for the right products.
To view more projects see our publications search page.