office buildings empty
Photo by kate.sade on Unsplash

Are half-empty offices wasting energy?

Are half-empty offices wasting energy powering all of their mechanical systems? Data shows that the answer is no.


In a nutshell:

As office buildings slowly emerge from the pandemic, occupancy rates are gradually rising as companies require workers to return, even if only part-time. Surprisingly, data from real estate data management company Measurabl reveals that despite this increase in usage, office energy consumption is on a downward trend. Comparing data from multiple cities over different years, energy intensity per square foot is decreasing over time, indicating better energy management. This shift is attributed to proactive energy management strategies driven by environmental concerns, ESG standards, and energy regulations, though a significant portion of commercial real estate is yet to adopt such practices, potentially skewing overall energy usage statistics.

Key quote:

"The single largest controllable expense in most office buildings, and in most buildings period, is energy expenditure," says Measurabl CEO Matt Ellis.

The big picture:

Prolonged exposure to indoor pollutants has been linked to symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Efficient energy practices within office spaces lead to a healthier indoor environment, as optimized ventilation and lighting systems reduce pollutants and enhance overall well-being. These combined effects underscore the significant role that energy conservation in workplaces plays in promoting public health.

extreme heat wave
Credit: Wayne S. Grazio/Flickr

Scorching heat wave in Mexico and Southwest US intensified due to climate change

Climate change has significantly worsened the recent deadly heat wave in Mexico and the Southwestern United States, making it 35 times more likely and 2.5 degrees hotter.

Seth Borenstein reports for the Associated Press.

Keep reading...Show less
Senator Whitehouse & climate change

Senator Whitehouse puts climate change on budget committee’s agenda

For more than a decade, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse gave daily warnings about the mounting threat of climate change. Now he has a powerful new perch.
Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way
Coast Guard inspects Cameron LNG Facility in preparation for first LNG export in 2019. (Credit: Coast Guard News)

Amid LNG’s Gulf Coast expansion, community hopes to stand in its way

This 2-part series was co-produced by Environmental Health News and the journalism non-profit Economic Hardship Reporting Project. See part 1 here.Este ensayo también está disponible en español
Keep reading...Show less

Extreme heat poses danger to athletes at Paris Olympics

Forecasts predict the Paris Olympics could experience record-breaking heat, threatening athlete safety.

Ben Doherty reports for The Guardian.

Keep reading...Show less

Opinion: Summer heat poses health risks for children

With Ontario's extreme heat warnings and wildfire smoke in the West, parents need to rethink when they let kids play outside this summer.

Denise Balkissoon writes for The Narwhal.

Keep reading...Show less
criminalizing pipeline protests
Credit: Mark Klotz/Flickr

Lawmakers push to penalize pipeline protests

Lawmakers, driven by fossil fuel donors, are working to expand criminal penalties for pipeline protests under new federal safety regulations.

Emily Sanders reports for The Lever.

Keep reading...Show less

Extreme weather threatens global food security

Droughts and floods have rendered land in some of the world's poorest regions incapable of supporting crops, leading to "zero" harvests in these areas, according to the World Food Programme.

Aleks Phillips reports for the BBC.

Keep reading...Show less
desertification & regenerative sustainable agriculture
Credit: ILRI/Flickr

Reviving ancient practices to combat desertification in Jordan

Communities in Jordan are successfully using the ancient practice of hima to combat overgrazing and desertification, revitalizing local ecosystems and traditions.

Diana Kruzman reports for bioGraphic.

Keep reading...Show less
From our Newsroom
nurses climate change

Op-ed: In a warming world, nurses heal people and the planet

Nurses have the experience, motivation and public support to make an important contribution in tackling the climate crises.

planetary health diet

This diet will likely keep you alive longer — and help the planet

New research finds the Planetary Health Diet lowers our risk to most major causes of death.

environmental justice

LISTEN: Jose Ramon Becerra Vera on democratizing science

“In their own way, they’re becoming experts, not just of their experiences but also of the data collection process.”

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

The oil and gas industry’s radioactive problem: Q&A with Justin Nobel

“Of all the levels of radium in produced water or brine around the world that I’ve looked at, I have encountered none that are consistently as high as what comes out of the Marcellus Shale.”

Stay informed: sign up for The Daily Climate newsletter
Top news on climate impacts, solutions, politics, drivers. Delivered to your inbox week days.