If all U.S. commercial buildings fully used controls for daily operation, they could
reduce energy consumption by the amount
of energy that is currently used by 12-15
million Americans each year, according to
a report authored by researchers at the
Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest
National Laboratory (PNNL). These savings
would cut energy use in commercial buildings by 29%.
“Most large commercial buildings are
already equipped with building automation
systems that deploy controls to manage
building energy use,” says report co-author
and PNNL engineer Srinivas Katipamula.
“But those controls often aren’t properly
programmed and are allowed to deterio-
rate over time, creating unnecessarily large
power bills. Our research found significant
nationwide energy savings are possible if
all U.S. commercial building owners periodi-
cally looked for and corrected operational
problems such as air conditioning systems
Commercial buildings account for about
20% of total energy use nationwide, and
How Widespread Controls Can Cut Energy Use by 29%
NEW REPORT IDENTIFIES EFFICIENCY MEASURES WITH ENERGY-SAVING POTENTIAL
only 15% have building automation systems
with controls that help reduce energy.
Examples include sensors for lights and
heating and cooling controls that change
throughout the day.
The report addresses 34 total energy
efficiency measures to improve commercial
building performance. Additionally, the
researchers looked at how packaging some
of these together impacts performance.
The efficiency measures that showed the
greatest potential for energy saving include:
Across all climates, undertaking these
changes could have an average energy sav-
ings of 29%, but some building types have
even greater potential for energy reduction.
For example, secondary schools save about
49% on average.
Unsurprisingly, buildings that are already
inefficient would see the greatest impact.
Inefficient buildings have a potential national energy saving range of 30-59%, typical
buildings could save from 26-56% and
efficient buildings could cut back anywhere
from 4-19% percent.
Read the report “Impacts of Commercial
Building Control on Energy Savings and
Peak Load Reduction” at www.pnnl.gov.
REDUCING HEATING IN COMMERCIAL
BUILDINGS at night is one of the most
effective controls-based changes you can
make to improve energy efficiency.
The wind industry made major gains last year, especially in Texas, Iowa and South
Dakota, according to a trio of recent DOE
reports that found notable growth in the
nation’s installed wind energy capacity.
More than 8,200 MW of wind energy
capacity were added last year, representing
27% of all energy capacity added in 2016.
Wind now supplies roughly 6% of electricity
in the U.S., and 14 states obtain more than
10% of their energy from wind. U.S. wind
installations generated more than 226 mil-
TEXAS, SOUTH DAKOTA AND IOWA LEAD
THE NATION IN WIND ENERGY
lion MW produced in 2011.
Leading this growth are states like Texas,
Iowa and South Dakota, which have aggressively pursued wind energy. Texas leads
the nation in capacity with over 20 GW of
wind technology installed, while Iowa and
South Dakota both produced more than
30% of their electricity from wind last year.
Another 12 states exceeded the 10% benchmark: Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota,
Minnesota, Colorado, Vermont, Idaho, Maine,
Texas, Oregon, New Mexico and Nebraska.
Distributed applications, which supply
power directly to buildings and communities, are also making big gains in the market.
Wind turbines in distributed applications
reached a cumulative capacity of 992 MW
last year generated from the 77,000 turbines installed across all 50 states, three territories and Washington, D.C. These turbines
range from a few hundred watts to several
“The wind industry continues to install
significant amounts of new capacity and
supplied about 6% of total U.S. electric-
ity in 2016,” says Daniel Simmons, Acting
Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency
and Renewable Energy. “As our reports
explain, a combination of federal subsidies,
state mandates, and technological advance-
ments continue to help drive new wind
n LAST YEAR, MORE THAN 8,200 MW
OF WIND ENERGY CAPACITY WAS
ENERGY CAPACITY ADDED IN 2016
n 6% OF ELECTRICITY IN THE U.S. IS
GENERATED BY WIND
n WIND INSTALLATIONS GENERATED
226 MILLION MW LAST YEAR