A new study by the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance suggests that newer commercial buildings use more energy than older ones. Also see this summaray on Con.Web.

This jars with my intuition. The commercial sector sector (office buildings and stores) has been growing quickly in the Northwest: the share of jobs in service industries has risen, at the expense of industry and resource extraction jobs. But despite these increases in commercial sector jobs, commercial energy consumption per capita has remained roughly flat in the Northwest states for decades.

  • The study itself urges caution in interpreting the findings about office buildings. But it certainly suggests that, despite the many advances in energy-efficient lighting, our newer buildings could still be far more efficient than they are.