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Buildings' Energy Use


Buildings represent about 76% of electricity use and 40% of U.S. primary energy use, making it essential to reduce energy consumption to reduce costs to building owners and tenants. Source: U.S. Department of Energy (2015). Quadrennial Technology Review 2015, Chapter 5.


Related Topics


Energy Intensity

The energy consumption per square foot of building space, including industrial or laboratory facilitities (e.g., kWh/sq-ft)

Energy Performance

Assessing a building’s energy performance involves comparing its energy use to that of peers or a standard. The ENERGY STAR program provides recognized benchmarks for assessing a building’s energy performance.

Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings are a set of sustainable principles for integrated design, energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality, materials, and climate change adaptation aimed at helping Federal agencies and organizations:

  • Reduce the total ownership cost of facilities
  • Improve energy efficiency and water conservation
  • Provide safe, healthy, and productive built environments
  • Promote sustainable environmental stewardship

Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings and Associated Instructions

Determining Compliance with the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings

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Did You Know?

Water use in commercial and institutional facilities, such as office buildings and hospitals, account for 17% of publicly-supplied water use in the U.S.

Source: EPA WaterSense

Reduce water use with SFTool  


Case Study

Sense of Place

Skylight and Sculpture

What makes a workplace special? What fosters a sense of attachment, engagement and identity? These are the kinds of questions that underlie the sense of place. The workplace is increasingly seen as a “brand” that conveys not only a place, but also the mission and values of the organization. The GSA workplace program combines branding and sense of place with sustainable approaches to create special places imbued with meaning and purpose.

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