U.S. Department of Energy’s EIA 2018 CBECS Report

April 11, 2023 | By: CRE Insight Journal

The US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) has completed the release of the 2018 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) with the publication of the methodology of the 2018 survey. The 2018 CBECS provides a snapshot of commercial buildings and their energy usage in 2018, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings were released between 2021 and 2023, and they provide valuable insights into energy usage in commercial buildings across the United States. This survey is notable for many reasons, including its use in calculating ENERGY STAR scores.

CBECS is a comprehensive survey conducted regularly (usually every 5 – 7 years) that collects data on the energy consumption and energy-related characteristics of commercial buildings in the United States. The survey covers a wide range of building types, including office buildings, retail stores, medical offices, schools, warehouses, and many others. The 2018 survey is the 11th iteration, and it has marked several notable changes since the 2012 CBECS and the first survey in 1979.

Key Findings

The 2018 CBECS found that the average energy consumption per square foot of US commercial buildings decreased by 12-percent since the 2012 survey. The survey also found that the total floorspace of commercial buildings grew overall, and electricity intensity (the energy consumed per square foot) decreased 14-percent and natural gas intensity decreased by 11-percent. The adoption of high efficiency technologies like LED lighting and Building Automation Systems (BAS) have helped decrease energy consumption and increase energy savings, even as CRE properties have increased in size.

The survey also showed that electricity and natural gas continued to be the dominant energy sources at 94-percent of total energy consumption, with electricity representing 60-percent of consumption in 2018. The southern region of the US had the largest total energy consumption at 2,357 trillion Btu (British Thermal Unit), and the highest share of electricity usage at 69-percent. The Midwest region saw the second highest consumption at 1,936 trillion Btu.

The release of the 2018 CBECS data is a significant milestone for the energy industry, and its findings will inform the upcoming ENERGY STAR scores, and many decisions within the industry and governing bodies.

For more information about the 2018 CBECS survey and its findings, read through the Preliminary Consumption and Expenditure Highlights release, or join Survey Manager Joelle Michaels and other experts on Wednesday, April 19, 2023, for a free webinar from the EIA on how they collected this data and how it can be used.

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