Shared Screenshot Eia Flipbook 614b91e0a3670

EIA Releases Energy Use Data for U.S. Commercial Buildings

Sept. 22, 2021
A new report from the Energy Information Agency found U.S. commercial buildings growing larger, using more LED lighting and other emerging tech such as electric vehicle charging stations.


WASHINGTON DC, September 21, 2021 -- Commercial buildings in the United States are getting larger, and they more commonly include features like LED lighting and emerging technologies such as electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), the number of U.S. commercial buildings grew 6% from 2012 to 2018, and the total floorspace of commercial buildings increased by 11%.

CBECS provides building characteristics information for the estimated 5.9 million commercial buildings in the United States. CBECS data include number of buildings and floorspace by characteristics such as geographic region, building activity, size and age, employment and occupancy, energy sources used, and energy-related equipment.

“How commercial buildings consume energy has major impacts on the U.S. energy sector,” said EIA Acting Administrator Steve Nalley. “CBECS data show that while commercial buildings are growing in size, they are also adopting new technologies and practices that help improve energy efficiency.”

Notable takeaways from commercial building characteristics in 2018 include:

  • More than 2.5 million commercial buildings used LED lights, five times the number of buildings that used LEDs in 2012;
  • Larger commercial buildings were most likely to have EV charging stations; more than one-third of buildings over 500,000 square feet had EV charging stations. Lodging and service buildings were most likely to have installed EV charging stations;
  • About 10% of commercial buildings and 30% of commercial floorspace could generate electricity. All inpatient health care buildings used electricity generation technologies;
  • An estimated 5% of buildings used internet-connected (smart) thermostats;
  • Warehouse and storage, office, and service buildings were the most common building types;
  • Half of all main shift workers in the United States worked in office and education buildings.

EIA will publish the raw data files for building characteristics in November and preliminary estimates of energy consumption and expenditures for electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, and district heat in spring 2022. CBECS is the only independent, statistically representative source for commercial building characteristics and energy use in the United States.

The 2018 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey building characteristics data tables and flipbook are available on the EIA website.


EIA Press Contact: Chris Higginbotham, [email protected]


The product described in this press release was prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. By law, EIA’s data, analysis, and forecasts are independent of approval by any other officer or employee of the U.S. government. The views in the product and press release therefore should not be construed as representing those of the U.S. Department of Energy or other federal agencies.