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Chapter 3 focuses on energy use in the commercial sector. Section 3.1 covers primary and site energy consumption in commercial buildings, as well as the delivered energy intensities of various building types and end uses. Section 3.2 provides data on various characteristics of the commercial sector, including floorspace, building types, ownership, and lifetimes. Section 3.3 provides data on commercial building expenditures, including energy prices. Section 3.4 covers environmental emissions from the commercial sector. Section 3.5 briefly addresses commercial building construction and retrofits. Sections 3.6, 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, and 3.10 provide details on select commercial buildings types, specifically office and retail space, medical facilities, educational facilities, and hotels and motels.
In chapter 3, commercial sector floorspace is divided by the intended commercial activity , such as medical facility, office space, and retail space. Buildings owned and/or operated by Federal, state, or municipal governments are included in the commercial building sector and are categorized according to their primary purpose. Energy consumption in Federal buildings is discussed in more detail in chapter 4.
The main points from this chapter are summarized below:
- Commercial buildings represent just under one-fifth of U.S. energy consumption, with office space, retail space, and educational facilities representing about half of commercial sector energy consumption.
- The recession is evidenced by the sharp decrease in energy expenditures in the commercial building sector-a 10% drop. The value of new commercial construction also declined by 22%, the largest percentage drop in the last 30 years. The decline in economic activity had a positive effect on carbon dioxide emissions, which decreased 6%.
- The top three end uses in the commercial sector are space heating, lighting, and space cooling, which represent close to half of commercial site energy consumption.
- Commercial floor space and primary energy consumption grew by 58% and 69%, respectively, between 1980 and 2009. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that they will continue to grow at slower rates between 2009 and 2035, 28% and 22%, respectively. Average energy prices, on the other hand, have been, and are expected to remain, relatively stable.
In aggregate, commercial buildings consumed 17.9 quads of primary energy in 2009, representing 46.0% of building energy consumption and 18.9% of U.S. energy consumption. (3.1.1) In comparison, the residential sector consumed 21.0 quads of primary energy, equal to 22.3% of U.S. energy consumption. (2.1.1)