Commercial Building Basics
Federal, state, and local governments as well as private companies, own, operate and use commercial buildings, which include all non-residential structures, as well as residential buildings of three stories or more. Commercial buildings are divers in how they look and are used — they include everything from the corner dry cleaner to hospitals and college campuses to huge data centers and skyscrapers. There is more than 81 billion square feet of commercial floor space in the U.S. Laid out on one level, these buildings would cover Rhode Island two and a half times. Commercial buildings account for 36% of all U.S. electricity consumption and cost more than $190 billion in energy every year. They are also responsible for 18% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions, a primary greenhouse gas, and they consume more than 18%, or 18 quads, of U.S. primary energy—more than all of Canada's energy consumption. Reducing energy use in commercial buildings would have tremendous positive impact in our environment, energy security and would save money that can be used to help grow U.S. businesses. In addition, energy efficiency in commercial buildings creates good jobs in construction and technology, such as engineers, commissioning agents, energy managers and building operators.
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