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Commercial Buildings Trend—Detail

Commercial Floorspace Trend—Detail

Background:
Adjustment to data

 

 

Trends in Buildings and Floorspace

Each year buildings are added to and removed from the commercial buildings sector. Buildings are added by new construction or conversion of existing buildings from noncommercial to commercial activity. Buildings are removed by demolition or conversion from commercial to noncommercial activity.

Number of Commercial Buildings

In 1979, the Nonresidential Buildings Energy Consumption Survey estimated that there were 3.8 million commercial buildings in the United States; by 1992, the number increased 27 percent to 4.8 million (an average annual increase of 1.8%) (Figure 1). In 1995, the estimated number declined to 4.6 million buildings, but it is unlikely that there was an actual decline in the number of buildings. To understand the apparent decline, two factors should be considered—the change in the way that the target population of commercial buildings was defined in 1995 and the uncertainty of estimates from sample surveys:

Two types of buildings (parking garages and commercial buildings on multibuilding manufacturing facilities) included in previous surveys, were excluded beginning with the 1995 CBECS. When the 1992 estimate of total buildings is adjusted to match the 1995 definition, the 1992 estimate is reduced 3.8 percent to 4.7 million buildings (Figure 1).

The CBECS is a sample survey; as such, each estimate has a range of uncertainty because of sampling error. When the 95 percent confidence ranges for the estimates are applied, the differences between the 1992, 1995, and 1999 estimates are not statistically significant (graph detail).

 
 

 

 

In 1999, there were 4.7 million commercial buildings in the United States.
 

Figure 1. Total Commercial Buildings, 1979 to 1999

Figure 1. Total Commercial Buildings, 1979 to 1999. If you have trouble viewing this page, please contact the National Energy Information Center at (202) 586-8800.

Energy Information Administration
Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey

Graph detail and data table

Amount of Commercial Floorspace

Commercial floorspace in the United States grew at a slightly greater rate than that of buildings. The survey estimated 51.1 billion square feet in 1979 and 67.9 billion square feet in 1992, a total increase of 33% and an average annual growth rate of 2.2% (Figure 2). The apparent decline in floorspace between 1992 and 1995 was steeper than the apparent decline in buildings, but the floorspace decline—like the buildings decline—was not statistically significant (graph detail).


 
 

 

 

In 1999, there were 67.3 billion square feet of commercial floorspace in the United States.
 

Figure 2. Total Commercial Floorspace, 1979 to 1999

Figure 2. Total Commercial Floorspace, 1979 to 1999. If you have trouble viewing this page, please contact the National Energy Information Center at (202) 586-8800. Energy Information Administration
Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey

Graph detail and data table

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Specific questions may be directed to:

Alan Swenson
alan.swenson@eia.doe.gov

Release date: 01/12/2000

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