Buildings are responsible for 78% of the energy use in the United State. Commercial buildings account for 19% of energy use, or 26% of the total building usage, which is the smallest percentage of the 3 building categories (residential, commercial, industrial). When it comes to electricity usage, however, commercial buildings account for fully 35% of building electricity use – which is more (38% more to be precise) than industrial buildings.
There has been significant attention paid in recent years at all levels of government as well as by the utility industry to energy efficiency in commercial buildings. But, most of this focus has been on large commercial buildings, particularly large office buildings. After all, these are complex buildings that use significant amounts of energy.
However, small and medium size commercial buildings– those that are less than 100,000 sq. ft. in size – actually use a significant amount of energy in their own right. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), they use 40% more energy in total than buildings over 100,000 square feet.
In this paper we explore some of the energy efficiency challenges and opportunities in small commercial facilities – particularly those 3.5 million buildings in the U.S. under 15,000 sq. ft.