How Much Energy Does the Average Business Use?

Many people wonder just how much energy an average business uses.  After all, they tend to have the largest buildings with the most people in and they must use the most electricity even if it is just for the fact that they have to switch their power on when all of their staff are switching their home power off because they have to go to work.  Unfortunately, working out exactly how much the average business uses is almost impossible.  It depends on the size and nature of the building itself, its age and construction.  It depends on whether customers walk in and out all day or whether it is a closed office.  It also depends on the weather conditions.  However, there are a few things we do know.

What We Know about Business Consumption

In essence, commercial businesses use electricity, district heat, fuel oils and natural gases.  Out of these four, electricity accounts for 66% of their energy consumption, followed by natural gas at 23%, district heat at 7% and fuel oil at 3%.  We also know that commercial buildings are the second most common type of building we find, but they are the first biggest users.  So, if you want to see changes in energy consumptions and lowering of carbon footprint, this is where it should start.

How Do Businesses Use Electricity

66% of the energy consumption of businesses is electric.  So what do they use all this electricity for?  29% of their usage goes to lighting and 25% goes to space heating.  16% of the electricity is used for the equipment inside the offices.  9% is used on water heating, a further 9% is used on cooling, 5% is used on ventilation and 1% is used on cooking.  The remaining 6% is classed as “other”.

The Cost of Business Energy

The cost of using business energy is a very interesting conundrum.  We know that 66% of their energy consumption goes to electricity, but electricity accounts for 88% of their overall energy bill.  It is very unclear as to how this is possible, but this data comes from a range of different commercial buildings across the world, so it must be accurate.  In the USA, for instance, some $14,020 billion is spent on electricity by commercial buildings, when their total energy bill is $15,849.  Commercial buildings spend 7% of their energy bills on natural gas, 3% on district heat and 1% on fuel oils.  At the very least, this means that our oil resources are not being unduly depleted by commercial buildings.  That is, of course, until you start counting how much fuel oil is used by and four businesses in terms of transport, fleets and other logistics.  These are all huge amounts that show the huge amount of energy that is used by these buildings.  Considering we are constantly being told to be more frugal with our energy consumption, it is unsurprising that commercial properties are also becoming more and more committed to looking in to this.

The reality of the situation is that businesses are interested in these figures not to save the environment.  They are far more interested in lowering their business electricity bills.   However, if it kills two birds with one stone, we should all be grateful, regardless of the motivation.


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