FM Cost Trends

Oct. 20, 2016

Commercial Buildings Lag Government
Buildings in Energy Conservation.

The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reveals that commercial buildings owned by government agencies (federal, state and local) have reduced their energy consumption at a much faster rate than that of commercial buildings overall.

According to EIA’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), government buildings decreased consumption 23% from 2003 through 2012, dropping from 105,300 BTUs per square foot to 81,200 BTUs. Over the same period, energy consumption across all commercial buildings decreased only 12%, from 91,000 BTUs to 80,000 BTUs per square foot (Chart 1). About 14% of U.S. commercial buildings are owned by a government agency.

Governments at all levels have passed legislation and adopted energy goals and targets, and government buildings are more likely to have taken formal actions to reduce energy.  For example, building automation systems that automatically control lighting and HVAC are operating in approximately one-third of government buildings, more than twice the rate of nongovernment buildings (Chart 2). Formal energy management plans are much more common in government buildings (27%) than nongovernment buildings (8%). Upgrades of HVAC and lighting are also more likely to have taken place in government buildings.

In 2015 President Obama signed an executive order that requires a reduction in federal building energy intensity of 2.5% annually between 2015 and 2025.

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