How Much Power Does An Office Building Use?
In the US, an average of 20 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity and 24 cubic feet of natural gas per square foot are used annually by large office buildings (those with more than 100,000 square feet). Lighting, heating, and cooling consume the most energy in a typical office building (Figure 1), making those systems the best energy savings goals. For the average office building, energy accounts for about 19 percent of overall costs, which is a major operating expense that needs attention.
Average energy-use data
The main users of energy in large office buildings around the US are ventilation, lighting, cooling, and computers; space heating dominates the use of natural gas.
In terms of kWh, your utility calculates your energy consumption. Your building draws a certain amount of kilowatts (kW) from the grid each moment to fuel itself. The amount of energy you consume is the amount of time compounded by the power drawn at each moment. So if for one hour you draw 1 kW of electricity, you’ve consumed 1 kilowatt-hour of energy.
You can better manage energy costs when you understand how you’re charged for the energy usage of your facility. To learn about how you are paid with your consumption, contact the utility. If you incur demand charges that are focused on the peak demand within a certain time span of your building, consider steps that will reduce your peak demand.
Hourly data on energy consumption shows that lighting and cooling are the greatest possibilities in office buildings to reduce peak demand charges. This information is based on a California study; your area’s demand patterns may vary.
Workplace sustainability is a movement that is fast-growing. In order to promote behavioral improvement in the workplace, businesses are using green teams, interactive energy-use kiosks, training, and competitions. Preliminary studies indicate that savings range from about 2% to 10% .
Turn things down
- HVAC temperature setbacks – toggle temperature settings down in warming seasons and up in cooling seasons during closed business hours. Make sure that the minimum settings are HVAC settings in stockrooms, rarely used offices, and other peripheral rooms.
- Tuning of the building automation system – Check temperature setbacks every quarter in office buildings that already have a building automation system (BAS), to align them with building occupancy. Identify buildings that are not used at night, on weekends, or for long periods of time, and adjust the temperature settings in those locations (such as during holiday breaks). Also, verify that the building is not set to overcool or overheat HVAC systems. The advantages of building a BAS in a facility for longer-term solutions are further addressed.
- Sun shades and blinds – Lower window blinds in warm weather to block direct sunlight and reduce cooling requirements. Open the blinds on the south-facing windows in the winter to let in sunlight and help heat the place.
- Lighting – When they’re not in service, switch off the lights. Occupancy monitors and clocks can help, but training workers to switch off the lights at the end of the day is a less costly option. By posting a note that indicates the positions of light switches, you can support. Energy is saved and maintenance costs are minimized by dimmers and automated lighting controls such as photosensor controls. Using ceiling-mounted ultrasonic occupancy sensors in large bathrooms, which detect occupants around partitions.