Office building energy use broken down

November 27, 2012

More Americans than ever work in an office building that is outfitted with computers, printers and supporting technologies. Offices range in appearance from squat brick buildings in the suburbs to towering glass skyscrapers in the city. However, despite the many shapes and sizes an office may come in, one thing is common – energy use is exceptionally high in these commercial structures.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), although office buildings have the second largest amount of buildings and floor space in the nation, they consume the most energy of all building types. Offices account for 19 percent of all commercial energy consumption and use about 1.0 quadrillion British thermal unit (Btu) of combined site electricity, natural gas, fuel and district steam or hot water.

Measuring just electricity alone, office buildings use 2,039 trillion Btu of primary electricity, which increases the percentage of energy consumption this type of commercial property claims up to 23 percent, according to the EIA. Out of this energy use, 29 percent is dedicated to lighting, 25 percent to heating, 16 percent to office equipment and 9 percent to cooling. An addition 9 percent of electricity is used for water heating, 6 percent to miscellaneous, 5 percent to ventilation and 1 percent to cooking.

The average office building uses an average of 1.4 billion Btu of energy with an intensity of consumption of 97.2 Btu thousand per square foot. Across the nation, in states like Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania, office buildings are using an incredibly amount of energy due to the lack of sustainable practices and designs being put in place.

The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) was established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster. By partnering with other local agencies, the organization hopes to promote the integration of green energy technology into commercial building design. The organization is located in Philadelphia, and has dedicated its efforts toward improving energy efficiency and regional economic growth in areas like the green industry.

If organizations like this one can focus on promoting green energy technology implementation in office buildings, the percentage of resources consumed to run these structures will decrease.