Employee Energy Monitoring and Control Saves

PITTSBURGH based PNC bank recently participated in a Carnegie Mellon University study to confirm the extent to which employee behavior can improve the company's energy efficiency.

This study focused on how knowledge and control influence behavior and found that PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (to give them their full title) employees who monitored their energy use and automated the timeframe for specific devices to turn on and off reduced their energy consumption by 38%.

"This finding demonstrates the potential for employees to drive energy and cost savings," said Nana Wilberforce, PNC's energy manager. "It also highlights an opportunity for PNC and other companies to increase energy efficiency through education, as well as the adoption of the right technology."

In December 2013, PNC installed meters, which measure plug load, or the energy drawn by devices from an electrical outlet, at 80 Pittsburgh employees' workstations. These 80 employees were divided into four groups, each of which received a different amount of information and control.

The first group knew they were being monitored but received no information about their energy consumption. The second group received information through an energy dashboard that collected and displayed plug-load data in real time. The third group also had access to the dashboard and could manually turn on and off specific devices through the use of a switchboard. The fourth group had access to the dashboard and could automate when specific devices turned on and off. After monitoring the data from the 80 employees for six months, PNC confirmed the following results:

  • Group one reduced overall energy consumption by 7%.
  • Group two reduced overall energy consumption by 13%.
  • Group three reduced overall energy consumption by 25%.
  • Group four, which received the most information and control, reduced overall energy consumption by 38%.

Further, energy consumption among group four increased by only four percent after the dashboards and automated controls were removed. These results demonstrate that knowledge and control have a tremendous long-term influence on energy use.

Due to the study's results, PNC plans to roll out meters and provide employees with access to dashboards and automated control across all of its U.S. branches and office buildings in 2015.

The results of this study present an opportunity for businesses and building owners to reduce energy load. By implementing similar technology, companies can significantly reduce their energy consumption and costs.

Picture: PNC Headquarters by Jgera5 reproduced under CCL.

Wednesday 29th October 2014

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