Smart Plug Load Controls Integrated with Building Energy Management Systems

Integrating smart plug load controls with building energy management systems

The Regents of the University of California, San Diego


La Jolla, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Update

The Issue

Twenty seven percent (27%) of California commercial electricity consumption in 2018 was due to plug loads. Most plug loads have no power management capabilities and are left on 24/7. Even if plug loads have energy savings settings, those settings often have not been set up or disabled. Integrating plug load controls into building energy management platforms can yield many energy and non-energy benefits, including integrated control of multiple building systems (especially for plug loads and HVAC) and automated and dynamic load control such as during demand response events

Project Innovation

This project will demonstrate cost-effective reduction of energy use in buildings by integrating smart Plug Load Controls (PLC) with existing Building Energy Management Systems (BEMS). Smart PLC will employ advanced machine learning techniques to monitor and control the plug loads (PL), leverage BEMS sensor data for PLC and vice versa, and detect and resolve faults. Integrating PLC with the BEMS allows utilizing occupancy and temperature readings for dynamic PLC scheduling. BEMS integration will also facilitate participating in CAISO demand response markets and utility demand response programs based on the predictability of the reduced load profile and granular and aggressive PLC. Minimizing PL energy usage will result in significant energy reduction of overall building energy use that goes beyond what would be achievable with PLC alone. Commercial partners with widely-deployed state-of-the-art PLC and BEMS technology will ensure the success of the project and immediate technology transfer.

Project Benefits

The project goal will be achieved through integrating state-of-the-art PLC technology with state-of-the-art BEMS from market-leading industry partners together with R&D specific to PLC. Reduction in PL energy consumption beyond that from PLC alone will be achieved through (a) occupancy sensor-driven scheduling; (b) machine learning-based clustering algorithms that detect new patterns, faults, and inefficiencies, and automatically suggest or implement corrective actions.

Lower Costs


Annual energy savings translate to lower energy cost to ratepayers. The ability to manage their PL energy usage, allows ratepayers to strategically adjust PL consumption given time of use (TOU) rates.

Greater Reliability


Reducing peak energy usage by PLC can help ratepayers during demand response events and CAISO Flex Alerts. Aggressively turning off PL can prevent rolling blackouts during times of grid stress. Being able to shut off a large fraction of unused PL can significantly contribute to reducing peak energy usage.



Johnson Controls, Inc.


Best Energy Reduction Technologies


Match Partners


Johnson Controls, Inc.


Best Energy Reduction Technologies


Contact the Team