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Commercial Buildings: The biggest energy users

Would you like to create a long-term energy management plan but don't know where to start? A better understanding of where your energy dollars go can help you make more informed decisions and better use of your resources.

Building energy use breakdown
Space heating is the largest energy user in most commercial buildings, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data released in 2022; it accounts for about 32% of total energy consumption for the average building. Ventilation is the second biggest energy user at 11%, with lighting third at 10%.

chart showing building energy consumption breakdown

These are averages across a variety of building types. Individual facilities and building types may have different energy use patterns.

Simple energy-saving measures
Though every building is different, these simple measures will reduce your energy costs and improve the comfort and productivity of your facility.

  • HVAC maintenance. Hire a qualified professional to inspect and clean your heating and cooling systems at least once a year. Change air filters regularly according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Adjust temperatures. Use building automation controls to adjust building temperatures to optimize savings and comfort based on your operating schedule.
  • Control lighting. Install occupancy or vacancy sensors in areas with varying occupancy such as restrooms and meeting rooms to ensure lights run only when needed. Use automation controls to turn lights on and off based on building occupancy or operating schedules. Take advantage of the Alliant Energy® Marketplace for Business to receive extra savings with instant rebates on energy-efficient products like LED lighting and more.
  • Seal your building envelope. Regularly check for gaps or air leaks in windows and exterior doors and seal any you find with caulk or weatherstripping. Hire a qualified contractor to ensure your building is insulated according to relevant building energy codes, such as ASHRAE 90.1. Add insulation if needed to improve comfort and save energy.

View your company’s energy analytics
Discover saving opportunities with Energy Analytics, our online energy management tool. Energy Analytics is available for all business accounts through My Account. Simply log in or create an account to access your personalized dashboard.

Get valuable insights about your energy use including:

  • Bill cost and energy usage trends.
  • Usage breakdowns in hourly increments by application.
  • Weather impacts.

Take five minutes to answer basic questions about your facility and we’ll provide a customized list of energy recommendations, along with potential paybacks.

Visit Alliant Energy’s My Account for your business page for more information.

Develop a strategic energy management plan 
Long-term savings requires a successful energy management plan. In Iowa, we offer a Strategic Energy Management program in partnership with Michaels Energy. Strategic Energy Management is an action-oriented approach designed to help companies foster an energy management culture as part of its continuous improvement processes.

Participation involves three key phases:

  1. Make a commitment. Get the full support of the business owner or top management and include measurable goals and objectives, as well as a method to track progress.
  2. Encourage staff engagement. Create a work culture that inspires and empowers employees to actively participate and contribute to the organization’s goals and success. Broader staff engagement occurs as you identify opportunities in your facility and complete initiatives.
  3. Report and review. Compare energy use data and action plan measures to your performance goals. Use the results to create new action plans, identify best practices and set new performance goals.

The program offers a full evaluation of facilities and their energy management practices. There are six off-site educational sessions that provide the opportunity to learn energy management skills and applications while networking with noncompeting peers. Ongoing technical support after the sessions helps organizations maintain momentum.

The program does not cost businesses anything but labor to participate. To learn more about strategic energy management, reach out to your key account manager or call 1-866-ALLIANT (866-255-4268).

Wisconsin customers can get started with energy assessment resources with Focus on Energy. Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities’ energy efficiency resource program funded by utility companies like Alliant Energy. Focus on Energy’s energy advisors are there before, during and after projects, with knowledge and support to keep businesses on their energy efficiency path.

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