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Lighting in Commercial Buildings

Lighting and Building Size and Year Constructed

Building Size

Smaller commercial buildings are much more numerous than larger commercial buildings, but comprise less total floorspace—the 1,001 to 5,000 square feet category includes more than half of total buildings, but just 11 percent of total floorspace. In contrast, just 5 percent of buildings are larger than 50,000 square feet, but they account for half of total floorspace.

Lighting consumes 38 percent of total site electricity. Larger buildings consume relatively more electricity for lighting than smaller buildings. Nearly half (47%) of electricity is consumed by lighting in the largest buildings (larger than 500,000 square feet). In the smallest buildings (1,001 to 5,000 square feet), one-fourth of electricity goes to lighting (Figure 12).

Figure 12. Larger buildings consume relatively more site electricity for lighting.

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.

When compared by size, commercial buildings show significant differences in the percentage of floorspace lit by each of the major lighting types.

Figure 13. Standard fluorescent and incandescent lamps are more widely used in smaller commercial buildings.Figure 13. Standard fluorescent and incandescent lamps are more widely used in smaller commercial buildings.

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

Office buildings and warehouse and storage buildings (along with education buildings) have the greatest amount of total and lit floorspace. The types of lighting used, and percentage of floorspace lit by each, are different for office buildings and warehouse and storage buildings. The following two graphs (Figures 14 and 15) illustrate differences in lighting based on building size for these two building types.

Figure 14. More than twice as much floorspace is illuminated by compact fluorescent lamps in larger offices than in smaller offices.

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

Figure 15. More than 40 percent of lit floorspace is illuminated by high intensity lamps in larger warehouses, 3 times as much as in smaller warehouses.

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

Table 3. Total lit floorspace by lighting type and size of building

  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 51,342 37,918 5,556 4,004 4,950 2,403
Size of Building            
—1,001 to 50,000 24,963 19,257 3,378 1,379 1,274 902
—Over 50,000 26,379 18,661 2,178 2,625 3,676 1,501
Office Buildings 10,846 9,231 730 942 382 268
—1,001 to 50,000 4,861 4,315 374 225 62 76
—Over 50,000 5,985 4,917 356 717 320 192
Warehouse and Storage Buildings 7,136 3,878 309 277 2,184 955
—1,001 to 50,000 2,769 1,806 217 174 396 222
—Over 50,000 4,368 2,072 92 103 1,788 733
Note: Data are for non-mall buildings.
Source: Energy Information Administration, 2003 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey.

Year Constructed

About one-quarter of commercial buildings have been constructed since 1990. When we compare this fraction of commercial buildings with those constructed before 1990 we see significant differences in the amount of floorspace lit by the major lighting types (Figure 16 and Table 4).

Figure 16. Halogen and high intensity discharge lamps illuminate more floorspace in the most recently constructed buildings.

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

Table 4. Total lit floorspace by lighting type and year constructed

  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 51,342 37,918 5,556 4,004 4,950 2,403
Year Constructed            
—Before 1990 36,925 28,131 4,204 2,522 2,896 1,323
—1990 to 2003 14,417 9,787 1,353 1,482 2,054 1,080
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
HTML
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