Energy efficiency means using less energy to achieve the same level of comfort and productivity. There are a number of ways that energy consumption can be reduced without negatively impacting comfort. Efficiency doesn't mean wearing a parka in the office during winter or working in the dark. And the best news is that a reduction in consumption means a reduction in electricity costs.
Energy efficiency is an enormous energy resource that is commonly overlooked. The U.S. commercial sector spends $108 billion each year on energy bills for commercial buildings. More than 75% of this spending goes towards electricity.1 Among their commercial building peers, office buildings account for the largest share of energy consumption and hold the most potential for energy efficiency investment. If every office building in the country achieved a 30% decrease in energy use, the combined annual reduction in U.S. energy use would total over 340 trillion BTUs, enough energy to power over 638,000 homes for a year.2 3
Benefits of Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency can result in increased financial capital, environmental quality, national security, personal security, and human comfort. Individuals and organizations that are direct consumers of energy can choose to save energy to reduce costs and promote economic security. Improving energy efficiency reduces overhead and has a direct positive impact on the bottom line for almost any organization.
Electricity is the largest energy source in the U.S. and buildings are prime opportunities to realize electricity savings through energy efficiency. Research conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in California suggests that energy use in U.S. buildings could be reduced by about one-third by 2030, resulting in $170 billion of energy cost savings and a simple payback period of 2.5 years. That’s a smart business investment.4
Reduced Greenhouse Gases
U.S. buildings have come to represent an increasing portion of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, 40 percent, compared to 33 percent in 1980.5
Contribute to Energy Security
Energy efficiency improves energy security by not relying on increasingly volatile countries for fuel imports. For the U.S. military, “energy efficiency is not just about money or sustainability – it is a mission-critical priority. Smarter use of resources enhances energy security, expands military capability and saves lives." 6
1Energy Information Administration, “Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Surevey (CBECS): Table C2. Total Energy Expenditures by Major Fuel for All Non-Mall Buildings.” Accessible at:
2U.S. Department of Energy, “Buildings Energy Data Book â Commercial Sector.” March 2012. http://buildsdatabook.eren.doe.gov/ChapterIntro3.aspx
3This statistic was derived using the EPA, “Interactive Units Converter” and U.S. EPA, “Greenhouse Gas equivalencies Calculator,” http://www.epa.gov/cmop/resources/converter.html
4Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. “US Building Sector Energy Efficiency Potential.”
5U.S. Department of Energy, “Buildings Energy Data Book â Commercial Sector.” March 2012. http://buildsdatabook.eren.doe.gov/ChapterIntro1.aspx
6“Could patriotism motivate Americans to use less energy?” Greenbiz.com. https://www.greenbiz.com/article/could-patriotism-motivate-americans-use-less-energy