Commercial energy is power used by commercial entities, as opposed to residential, industrial, or transportation energy. Businesses like retail stores or auto dealerships are examples of commercial energy end users served by power utilities.
No matter the method of energy production, whether it is a fossil fuel, nuclear or renewable source, any form used by a commercial structure constitutes commercial energy.
Commercial Energy in the U.S.
According to a Department of Energy (DOE) report on energy use in the United States, commercial energy use rose steadily from 1950 to 2000, from less than five quadrillion Btu (British thermal units) to about 15 quadrillion Btu.
Changes in Sources
When examining coal, petroleum, natural gas and electricity, the DOE report also indicated that coal usage for commercial and residential energy declined during the same time period while petroleum declined significantly, starting in the 1970s. Electricity use rose sharply in the latter half of the 20th century, while natural gas also rose from 1950 to 2000.
Retrofitting of aging structures and incorporating sustainable design into new construction are ways businesses can minimize their environmental impact, lessen America’s dependency on foreign power sources and lower energy costs. The U.S. Green Building Council is one organization working to advance the cause of sustainable building design.
As energy exploration and production companies work to tap into more domestic fossil fuel supplies, many businesses are employing technologies to oversee energy use even tools as simple as automatic lighting. Some are investing in on-site renewable generation, as Price Chopper announced in January 2010 at its Colonie store in Albany, NY.