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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Energy-saving opportunities of direct-DC loads in buildings


Despite the recent interest in direct current (DC) power distribution in buildings, the market for DC-ready loads remains small. The existing DC loads in various products or research test beds are not always designed to efficiently leverage the benefits of DC. This work addresses a pressing need for a study into the development of efficient DC loads. In particular, it focuses on documenting and demonstrating how to best leverage a DC input to eliminate or improve conversion stages in a load's power converter. This work identifies how typical building loads can benefit from DC input, including bath fans, refrigerators, wall adapters, task lights, and zone lighting. It then details the development of several prototypes that demonstrate efficiency savings with DC. The most efficient direct-DC loads are explicitly designed for DC from the ground up, rather than from an AC modification.

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