Commercial buildings owned by government agencies have significantly decreased their energy use in the past few years, beating out the commercial sector in declines, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
From 2003 to 2012, the average amount of energy consumed per square foot in government buildings decreased by 23 percent, according to EIA data. Average energy consumption across all commercial buildings decreased by 12 percent.
The decline in energy usage in government buildings comes, at least in part, as a result of governments on the federal, state, and local levels passing legislation or adopting goals and targets to reduce energy use in new and existing buildings. As an example, EIA pointed to a 2015 executive order calling for a reduction in agency federal building energy intensity by 2.5 percent annually from 2015 to 2025.
The EIA also said systems to automatically control lighting and heating, cooling, and ventilation systems are more likely to be installed in government buildings than their commercial counterparts.