Existing Commercial Buildings Working Group


Eric Coffman, Montgomery County, Maryland

Carolyn Sarno, Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships

View Existing Commercial Building Working Group members.

The Existing Commercial Buildings (Commercial) Working Group is helping the State and Local Energy Efficiency Action Network (SEE Action) address energy efficiency in existing commercial space by developing and promoting solutions for whole-building improvements.

The working group has developed a blueprint for action to meet its goal of reducing energy use 20% or more in 3 billion square feet of commercial space each year by 2015 through whole-building approaches.

The Commercial Working Group has set a first-year goal for 2012 of working with 10 state and 30 local governments to adopt one or more of the solutions described in the blueprint:

  1. Improve information through benchmarking and disclosure in public and private buildings
  2. Use retro-commissioning to drive improvements in public and private buildings
  3. Encourage ratepayer-funded programs that target whole buildings
  4. Engage in public-private partnerships such as energy challenges and recognition programs for private buildings
  5. Adopt strategic energy management programs and encourage the use of these organization-wide energy management programs in the private sector
  6. Integrate energy efficiency and green practices in public sector leasing practices and encourage this leasing language in the local real estate market
  7. Implement and scale emerging financing mechanisms to spur investment in energy efficiency in commercial buildings
  8. Support workforce development through:
    1. Education and training: Build training capacity
    2. Materials: Develop standardized training materials
    3. Certification: Standardize around meaningful and nationally-recognized professional certifications
  9. Improve procurement processes, including bulk purchasing, specifications, life-cycle costing, and streamlined energy savings performance contracts
  10. Implement emerging technology demonstration programs that can create opportunities to commercialize promising new energy-saving technologies.

Working Group Scope

The activities of the Commercial Working Group target both public and private existing buildings. The working group is focusing on whole-building improvements such as: 

Strategic Priorities

To achieve its goals, the Commercial Working Group will focus on four strategic priorities:

Learn more about the Commercial Working Group's priority solutions and actions.

Working Group Resources

Energy Benchmarking, Rating, and Disclosure

High-Performance Leasing


Strategic Energy Management

Working Group Blueprint

Impact on Energy Efficiency

According to McKinsey and Company, the U.S. commercial building sector will consume 9.2 quadrillion (quads) Btu of primary energy in 2020 (excluding office equipment, miscellaneous electric loads, and community infrastructure) in a "frozen technology" scenario. However, meeting the working group goals would:


For more information on the Existing Commercial Buildings Working Group, contact:

Key Resources »

For Local Governments

For State Governments

For Regulators of Ratepayer-Funded Programs