Commercial buildings in the US are increasingly including features like LED lighting and emerging technologies like EV charging stations, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Commercial buildings are also getting larger, with total floor space increasing by 11%. The number of US commercial buildings grew 6% from 2012 to 2018.
The preliminary results of the EIA’s 2018 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey found that:
—More than 2.5 million commercial buildings used LED lights, five times the number of buildings that used LEDs in 2012;
—Standard fluorescent lighting was used in 68% of buildings, falling from 84% in 2012; the percentage of commercial buildings that used LED lighting increased from 9% in 2012 to 44% in 2018.
—Larger commercial buildings were most likely to have EV charging stations; more than one-third of buildings over 500,000 square feet had EV charging stations. Lodging and service buildings were most likely to have installed EV charging stations;
—About 10% of commercial buildings and 30% of commercial floorspace could generate electricity. All inpatient health care buildings used electricity generation technologies;
—An estimated 5% of buildings used smart thermostats.
Energy Use in Commercial Buildings
Electricity was the most commonly used energy source in commercial buildings. It was used in 95% of buildings, which accounted for 98% of total floorspace, the survey found. Half of commercial buildings and more than two- thirds of floorspace (70%) used natural gas.
Natural gas was most used for space heating; electricity was most used for cooling.
“How commercial buildings consume energy has major impacts on the US energy sector,” says EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley. “CBECS data show that while commercial buildings are growing in size, they are also adopting new technologies and practices that help improve energy efficiency.”
A recent report shows that smart building automation software and systems will reach $20.5 billion in North America by 2027. As urbanization leads to increasingly smarter cities, buildings are an integral part of a city’s ecosystem. Intelligent buildings lead to improved economic outcomes for both owners and users as well as improved satisfaction, safety, and wellbeing of occupants, the Research and Markets report points out.