In the interest of saving energy and reducing overhead costs, companies can curb their environmental impact and reduce strain on the nation’s grid by using less energy.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, commercial buildings consume 36 percent of all electricity in the U.S., which means more than $190 billion in energy costs each year. The Energy Department said the U.S. contains more than 81 billion square feet of commercial floor space.

Currently, commercial buildings use a significant amount of the nation’s energy, but much of this energy is unintentionally wasted. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said 30 percent of the energy consumed by commercial buildings on average is not used effectively.

With this high consumption of electricity, commercial buildings also generate large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, with more than 18 percent of emissions in the U.S. coming from commercial structures.

Although bringing down these numbers seems daunting, businesses are able to curb their energy consumption through retrofits and other energy-efficient technologies.

Some companies are also taking part in the Better Buildings Challenge to increase their energy efficiency and conserve precious resources.

How Companies Plan to Conserve Energy

To help reduce their energy consumption, businesses can establish sustainable best practices and install new energy management devices to improve building efficiency. Such devices include energy controllers for vending machines and other equipment, lighting controls to only turn on lights when someone is present, and other automated energy-conserving devices.

More companies are looking to certify their sustainable buildings with U.S. Green Building Council’s program Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED). Partnering with a distributor that understands LEED’s preferred products and keeps in-demand equipment and materials on hand helps in the construction of these buildings.

How Minneapolis Is Getting Involved in Energy Consumption in Commercial Facilities

New government regulations could also propel companies into implementing energy-saving solutions. Last year, Minneapolis announced it would require commercial buildings in the city to record and report their annual energy consumption, Energy Manager Today reported, citing Midwest Energy News.

Both government agencies and utilities are working on providing building owners with the tools necessary to accurately record their energy use to comply with the new rule.

The Energy Department launched its Energy Data Accelerator program to help develop energy reporting best practices in Minneapolis and other cities. Xcel Energy, a utility that services the Minneapolis area, is also developing an online system to allow building owners to have access to energy data.

“Reducing energy use in commercial buildings would have tremendous positive impact in our environment, energy security and would save money that can be used to help grow U.S. businesses,” the Department of Energy said. “In addition, energy efficiency in commercial buildings creates good jobs in construction and technology, such as engineers, commissioning agents, energy managers and building operators.”

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