Commercial Building Electric Loads


To gather insights that help to understand electric loads for commercial buildings in California and in the United States.

Early Findings

United States

  • The latest data for electric loads in the commercial buildings of the United States can be found in the Commercial Building Survey of Electricity Consumption (CBECS) report of 2012.
  • The findings of the 2018 survey have not been published yet.
  • According to the latest numbers available, miscellaneous electric loads or MELs accounted for 9% of the total fuel consumption in the commercial buildings of the entire country.
  • Plug-load controls were reported in 1% of all lit buildings and 3% of large lit buildings.
  • The average total energy consumed per square foot of commercial buildings registered a notable decline since the 2003 CBECS, from 91.0 thousand Btu per square foot to 80.0 thousand Btu per square foot in 2012.
  • In 2012, U.S. commercial buildings used 6,963 trillion Btu of total site energy, of which 4,241 trillion British thermal units (Btu) came from electricity, 2,248 trillion Btu from natural gas, 134 trillion Btu from fuel oil, and 341 trillion Btu from district heat.


  • Research suggests that in comparison to 2005, the energy used on average in the commercial buildings of California reduced during the 2014-2016 period.
  • This improvement is expected to reduce the relative impact of lighting compared to the other end-use loads and consequently minimize interactive effects in HVAC loads.
  • According to the latest data available, electricity consumed by commercial office buildings represents 37 percent of California’s total electricity consumption.
  • However, it is estimated that energy efficiency improvements could cut that usage by 80 percent.
  • In an average commercial building, a 30 percent savings in energy consumption could be achieved by upgrading building insulation from current levels to the Department of Energy’s recommended levels.
In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address your goals.

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