Energy Efficiency Retrofits for Commercial Buildings Could Save $41.1 Billion per Year in Energy Costs

July 22, 2010

Commercial building space in the United States covers a total of 79 billion square feet, and buildings are one of the leading sources of energy consumption and carbon emissions.  With more than 80% of commercial buildings being more than 10 years old, they also represent a significant opportunity for energy savings if today’s best practices are applied for efficiency retrofits.  According to a new report from Pike Research, if all commercial space built as of 2010 were included in a 10-year retrofit program, the savings in energy expenses would have the potential to reach more than $41.1 billion each year.  The cleantech market intelligence firm estimates that such programs would require an annual retrofit investment of $22.5 billion over the 10-year period.

However, despite these promising numbers, Pike Research’s analysis finds that the actual market for energy efficiency retrofits is only a small fraction of the potential.  “The building retrofit industry faces a number of key challenges,” says managing director Clint Wheelock.  “The current financial crisis has had a significant dampening effect on property owners’ investments in their properties.  Financing for such projects is scarce, and the limited investment in building efficiency is not keeping pace with the growing national demand for energy.”

Wheelock adds that the best-funded opportunities for retrofits today are major upgrades in institutional buildings, especially in federal buildings.  This market, already strong because of federal policy mandates and creditworthiness, received a boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  However, federal non-industrial buildings comprise less than 3% of existing commercial space, and the largest untapped potential is for energy retrofits in private commercial buildings.  Pike Research anticipates that several key market barriers will be successfully overcome during the next few years, and the firm expects that the private retrofit sector will experience strong growth through 2014 and beyond.

Pike Research’s study, “Energy Efficiency Retrofits for Commercial and Public Buildings”, analyzes the market opportunity for building retrofits in the United States.  It provides a detailed examination of the market drivers, barriers, and industry dynamics in today’s market, along with several scenarios for future growth.  The report includes an in-depth assessment of policy and regulatory factors, financing structures, demand drivers by segment, retrofit business cases, key industry players, and market forecasts.  An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.  

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets.  The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Clean Transportation, Clean Industry, Corporate Sustainability, and Building Efficiency sectors.  For more information, visit or call +1.303.953.9765. 

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