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Lighting in Commercial Buildings

Lighting and Principal Building Activity

More floorspace is lit in office buildings than any other commercial building type (more than 10 billion square feet or 21 percent of total lit floorspace) (Figure 5 and Table 2). Three building types—office, education, and warehouse and storage buildings—account for 53 percent of total lit floorspace and 50 percent of total (lit and unlit) floorspace.

The amount of lit floorspace generally tracks the amount of lit and unlit floorspace compared by building activity (Figure 5). The two exceptions are education and health care buildings. Both rank higher in amount of lit floorspace because a larger percentage of their total floorspace is lit. The percentage of lit floorspace for all buildings is 79 percent while it is 91 percent for education buildings and 93 percent for health care buildings.

Figure 5. Office, education, and warehouse and storage buildings account for more than half of total lit floorspace in commercial buildings.

Figure 5. Office, education, and warehouse and storage buildings account for more than half of total lit floorspace in commercial buildings.

Note: Data are for non-mall buildings.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

Table 2. Total floorspace and lit floorspace by lighting type and principal building activity

  Total Lit and Unlit Area
(million square feet)
Total
Lit Area
(million
square feet)
Floorspace Lit by Each Type of Light
(million square feet)
Standard
Fluorescent
Incandescent Compact
Fluorescent

High
Intensity
Discharge

Halogen
All Buildings 64,783 51,342 37,918 5,556 4,004 4,950 2,403
Principal Building Activity              
—Education 9,874 8,983 7,692 489 461 520 191
—Food Sales 1,255 1,129 941 51 64 Q Q
—Food Service 1,654 1,391 837 421 134 Q 72
—Health Care 3,163 2,937 2,501 267 294 85 83
—Lodging 5,096 3,901 2,112 1,215 864 88 142
—Retail (Other than Mall) 4,317 3,795 2,852 515 305 310 168
—Office 12,208 10,846 9,231 730 942 382 268
—Public Assembly 3,939 2,807 1,876 339 241 386 166
—Public Order and Safety 1,090 940 856 58 58 Q Q
—Religious Worship 3,754 2,419 1,543 755 139 28 105
—Service 4,050 3,348 2,445 221 84 580 136
—Warehouse and Storage 10,078 7,136 3,878 309 277 2,184 955
—Other 1,738 1,582 1,058 159 138 241 52
—Vacant 2,567 129 95 Q Q Q Q
Q=Data withheld because the Relative Standard Error (RSE) was greater than 50 percent, or fewer than 20 buildings were sampled.
Note: Data are for non-mall buildings.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

The total amount of electricity consumed for lighting varies significantly across building types (Figure 6). The amount consumed by office buildings greatly exceeds the amount consumed by any other type of building. Office buildings have more lit floorspace than any building type and they consume more electricity for all end uses.

Figure 6. Office buildings consume more than twice as much site electricity for lighting as any building type.

Figure 6. Office buildings consume more than twice as much electricity for lighting as any building type.

Note: Data are for non-mall buildings. Site electricity excludes energy used to generate and transmit electricity.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey, Table E3.

Standard Fluorescent Lamps

The following 5 graphs (Figures 7-11) show percent of floorspace lit by each of the major lighting types for the principal building activities (the order of the activities is the same for all 5 graphs).

Standard fluorescent lamps illuminate the most floorspace for all major types of commercial buildings. These lamps provide ambient lighting as well as task lighting in buildings.

Figure 7. Standard fluorescent lighting, by far, illuminates the greatest amount of floorspace in commercial buildings.

Note: Data are for non-mall buildings.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

Incandescent Lamps

Figure 8. Incandescent lamps illuminate the second most amount of floorspace.

Note: Data are for non-mall buildings.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

Compact Fluorescent Lamps

Figure 9. Compact fluorescent lamps illuminate just a small portion of floorspace in most building types.

Note: Data are for non-mall buildings.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

High Intensity Discharge Lamps

Figure 10. High intensity discharge (HID) lamps are primarily used to illuminate open, high ceiling areas.

Q=Data withheld because the Relative Standard Error (RSE) was greater than 50 percent, or fewer than 20 buildings were sampled.
Note: Data are for non-mall buildings.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

Halogen Lamps

Figure 11. Halogen lamps are used for just a fraction of floorspace in buildings.

Q=Data withheld because the Relative Standard Error (RSE) was greater than 50 percent, or fewer than 20 buildings were sampled.
Note: Data are for non-mall buildings.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

 

Lighting in Commercial Buildings
  Introduction
  Lighting and Principal Building Activity
  Lighting and Building Size and Year Constructed
  Changes in Lighting

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Detailed lighting tables
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Excel
PDF
  Table L1. Floorspace Lit by Lighting Type (Non-Mall Buildings), 1995
Table_L1.html
Table_L1.xls
Table_L1.pdf
  Table L2. Floorspace Lit by Lighting Type (Non-Mall Buildings), 1999
Table_L2.html
Table_L2.xls
Table_L2.pdf
  Table L3. Floorspace Lit by Lighting Type (Non-Mall Buildings), 2003
Table_L3.html
Table_L3.xls
Table_L3.pdf
  Note: Excel version includes tab for relative standard errors (RSEs).      

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Specific questions may be directed to:
  Alan Swenson
  Alan Swenson
  

Date released: April, 2009