Plug loads account for about 37% of the energy consumed in buildings according to Green Architecture and Building Report. These are devices we plug into the wall: copiers, computers, cell phone chargers, TV’s, vacuums, coffee makers, etc. It makes sense to have some way to help reduce the loads, save money and rely less on fossil fuels. An organization, called STEP (Sustainable Technology Environments Program) has developed a rating system that focuses both on reducing electrical loads of buildings, and concerns related to the life cycle of the technology devices that are needed to help manage the demands. These technologies are intended to make our buildings smarter. Being “smart” is about using Information Technology, (IT) and Audio Visual (AV) applications along with a Systems Designer to integrate technologies to help reduce the carbon footprint of the building. Within STEP, there are five project phases: the Planning/Program Phase, an Architectural and Infrastructure Design Phase, a System Design Phase, the Systems Integration Phase, and an Operations Phase. During these phases, the technology systems are defined, budgeted, assembled and tested, then closed out after one year integration of the systems. STEP is intended as a way to help manage and reduce loads in a rating system that can work with LEED and Green Globes.
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