Saving Energy in Small Commercial Buildings

BUILDING on U.S. President Obama’s Climate Action Plan the Energy Department announced an award of $10 million for six projects to help small commercial buildings save money by saving energy.

These small commercial buildings are less than 50,000 square feet in size and include schools, churches, strip malls, restaurants and grocery stores. The six projects are aimed at developing user-friendly tools and resources that can be easily deployed at any small building. The Energy Department’s $10 million investment across these six projects will be matched by at least $14 million in private sector funding.

“Energy efficiency represents a huge opportunity to help the businesses across the country save money by saving energy,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "As the President made clear in his climate action plan, energy efficiency is one of the clearest and most cost-effective opportunities to save businesses and communities money while curbing harmful emissions.”

In the United States, the commercial building sector, of which more than 90 percent are small buildings, consumes about 20 percent of all U.S. energy. According to studies by the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, small buildings have tremendous potential to save energy and improve their bottom lines.  For example, small fast food restaurants have the potential to cut energy use by up to 45 percent, and a 10 percent reduction in energy costs can improve grocery stores’ profit margin by 16 percent.

The challenge is that small building owners and operators often lack the capital and resources available to large commercial building owners and operators.

Often hassle-free tools and practices that require little time, technical expertise and financial investment offer the best initial opportunity for small buildings to save money on their utility bills.

Picture of small commercial building in US from NNECAPA reproduced under CCL.

Monday 22nd July 2013


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