Lighting Energy Consumption Falls 46% from 2003 to 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration has released summary tables providing energy consumption estimates from the 2012 CBECS.

The data show that despite a 14% increase in total buildings and a 22% increase in total floorspace since 2003, energy use in the estimated 5.6 million U.S. commercial buildings was up just 7% during the same period. Slower growth in commercial building energy demand since 2003 is explained in part by newer construction that is built to higher energy performance standards, occupied by less energy-intensive building activities, and more often built in temperate regions. The improved efficiency of key energy-consuming equipment is also decreasing demand. Since 2003, for example, space heating and lighting are each down by 11 percentage points in their share of energy use in buildings.

Electricity consumption, however, has increased significantly, driven by new electricity-using equipment. Electricity increased its share of total energy consumed from 38% in 1979 to 61% in 2012 in commercial buildings. But not for lighting. The total amount of energy used for lighting decreased 46% from 2003 to 2012, driven by energy codes and more-efficient technology.

Click here to read the summary report.



  1. Mike Welch says:

    Interesting statistics but I do have some questions –

    The “Lighting” column in the graph above does it just refer to the light source power consumption, in other words just focusses on the power consumed by the bulb whether it be incandescent, fluorescent or LED?

    Would one be correct in assuming that the light bulb control electronics and associated control solution components power consumption would be part of the other columns, for example “Other” + “Computing”?

    Best regards,


  2. Mike Welch says:

    According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) that still leaves the US at number 8 in the world for energy efficiency at 61.5%. So a lot still to be done.

  3. Now, we’re checking all the open-ended responses and interviewer comments and running case-level edits that check for item consistency within questionnaires and help to verify that the energy usage data are accurate.

Leave a Reply