New commercial buildings are larger, include more technology, EIA survey shows

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 421 views 

U.S. commercial buildings are being built larger and with more features like LED lighting and technologies such as electric vehicle charging stations, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The EIA released Tuesday (Sept. 21) the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey that shows the number of U.S. commercial buildings increased by 6% from 2012 to 2018, and the total floor space of commercial buildings rose by 11%.

The survey includes building characteristics information for the nearly 5.9 million commercial buildings in the United States. The data shows the number of buildings and floor space by characteristics such as geographic region, building activity, size and age, employment and occupancy, energy sources used and energy-related equipment.

“How commercial buildings consume energy has major impacts on the U.S. energy sector,” said 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.”

Following are other 2018 survey highlights:

  • More than 2.5 million commercial buildings used LED lights, five times the number that used them in 2012.
  • More than one-third of the buildings over 500,000 square feet had electric vehicle charging stations. Lodging and service buildings were most likely to have the stations.
  • About 10% of commercial buildings, and 30% of commercial floor space could generate electricity. All inpatient healthcare buildings used electricity generation technologies.
  • An estimated 5% of buildings used internet-connected (smart) thermostats.
  • Warehouse and storage, office and service buildings were the most common building types.
  • Half of all main shift workers in the United States worked in office and education buildings.

In November, the EIA will publish the raw data files for building characteristics. It will release preliminary estimates of energy consumption and expenditures for electricity, natural gas, fuel oil and district heat in spring 2022. Link here for the 2018 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.