How much energy does an office building consume?

January 22, 2013

Commercial buildings represent approximately one-fifth of the United State’s energy consumption. This category includes office spaces, retail structuresand educational facilities. Out of those types of structures, office buildings consume the most energy out of all propertieseven though they have the second largest amount of buildings and floorspace, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The Buildings Data Book reports that energy consumption during the recession dropped 10 percent as commercial construction projects went on the decline and property management companies increased their emphasis on reducing operational expenditures.

Office buildings account for 19 percent of all commercial energy consumption – using almost 1.0 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu). The average individual office building uses 1.4 billion Btu a year, according to the source. These structures have an energy intensity o 97.2 thousand Btu per square foot – exceeding the average for all commercial structures, which rested at 90.5 Btu per square foot. Unsurprisingly, larger office buildings have an even greater energy footprint than smaller units, however, they also pay less per unit of energy because of that higher consumption and package rates offered by utility companies.

According to the EIA, on average, $1.51 per square foot is spent on energy in a typical office building – more than the national average for energy use in commercial buildings at $1.19 per square foot. Experts predict that unless commercial property owners or management companies begin to seriously implement sustainability technologies into the designs of office buildings and other similar structures, then energy consumption and operational prices will continue to rise.

This belief is spurring the creation and development of groups focusing on lobbying and supporting the integration of energy efficient technologies in commercial buildings. For example, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) is working to assist developers in the integration and planning of energy efficient technologies and solutions. This particular agency works in the greater Philadelphia area and was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The institution aims to increase the sustainability of commercial structures for the betterment of environment and communities across the state of Pennsylvania.

EEB Hub and other groups work in conjunction with another and aim to promote economic growth for the area in the green energy sector.