Commercial and Office Buildings

Office buildings make up the largest sector of building type within the commercial sector, comprising 17% of all commercial buildings in the U.S, as well as 17% of the energy. There are many efficiency opportunities in both existing office buildings, and new construction. In existing buildings these opportunities include equipment upgrades, improved building and energy management systems, commissioning, and improved operations and maintenance (O&M). For new construction, using advanced design and technologies is an important means for saving energy (ACEEE).

  • Business or Group B Buildings
  • Office Buildings
  • Skyscrapers
  • Multi-tenant Buildings Above Four Stories


Energy Efficient Office Resources & Practices

ENERGY STAR Sustainable Buildings Checklist

The Sustainable Buildings Checklist evaluates sustainability in existing buildings. It was first developed for US federal building managers for compliance with the Federal Guiding Principles for High Performance Sustainable Buildings . It is also a valuable tool for evaluating the sustainability of nongovernment buildings.


Equipment Standards

Minimum efficiency standards for commercial equipment have been one of the most successful policies used by states and the federal government to save energy. Equipment efficiency standards prohibit the production and import or sale of appliances and other energy-consuming products less efficient than the minimum requirements.



With the advancement of improved building technologies and controls it is crucial that high-performance buildings of all kinds be properly commissioned as part of a comprehensive quality assurance plan. In many instances, a process of ongoing commissioning has shown to be effective.



The extensive inventory of facilities that are over 25 years of age present a significant recapitalization challenge. For GSA, its First Impressions Program addresses the quality of the entrance and lobby areas of its older facility portfolio. Key areas of concern for modernization include upgrading the exterior envelope, mechanical systems, telecommunications infrastructure, security, and interior finishes. Improving the workplace quality, energy performance, security, flexibility to accommodate tenant churn, maintenance overhead and life-cycle expectancy are important objectives for modernizing these facilities.



Technology has become an indispensable tool for business, industry, and education. Given that technology is driving a variety of changes in the organizational and architectural forms of office buildings, consider the following issues when incorporating it, particularly information technology (IT), into an office:

  • Plan new office buildings to have a distributed, robust, and flexible IT infrastructure, which would allow technological access in virtually all the spaces.During the planning stage, identify all necessary technological systems (e.g., voice/cable/data systems such as audio/visual systems, speaker systems, Internet access), and provide adequate equipment rooms and conduit runs for them


Source: EcoWatch


Increasing Productivity for a Healthy Workplace

Worker Satisfaction, Health, and Comfort—In office environments, by far the single greatest cost to employers is the salaries of the employees occupying the space. It generally exceeds the lease and energy costs of a facility by a factor of ten on a square foot basis. For this reason, the health, safety, and comfort of employees in a high-performance office are of paramount concern (WBDG).

  • Utilize strategies such as increased natural ventilation rates, the specification of non-toxic and low-polluting materials and systems, and indoor air quality monitoring.
  • Provide individualized climate control that permits users to set their own, localized temperature, ventilation rate, and air movement preferences.
  • While difficult to quantify, it is widely accepted that worker satisfaction and performance is increased when office workers are provided stimulating, dynamic working environments. Access to windows and view, opportunities for interaction, and control of one’s immediate environment are some of the factors that contribute to improved workplace satisfaction.
  • Natural light is important to the health and psychological well-being of office workers. The design of office environments must place emphasis on providing each occupant with access to natural light and views to the outside. A minimum of 30 foot candles per square foot of diffused indirect natural light is desirable.


North Carolina Case Study

SAS Office Campus Technology Automation

Source: Facility Executive

Building on its corporate sustainability leadership and Internet of Things (IoT) technology prowess, SAS is taking steps to establish a “smart campus” at its Cary, NC, headquarters. Through SAS’ advanced, real-time analytics, the smart campus project will improve energy usage while proactively monitoring equipment performance to boost operational longevity. Starting with a handful of buildings, two on-site solar farms, and select waste containers, the project will eventually span across most of the 24 buildings on campus.


Additional Resources