The Federal Energy Information Administration recently issued its 25-year projections: Annual Energy Outlook 2011 With Projections to 2035. The 246-page document and a summary are available at the link above. Great Forest went through the report and noted a few interesting points:
Despite a projected growth in commercial floor space, commercial energy consumption in buildings, notably for space cooling, refrigeration and lighting, is expected to hold steady between 2009 and 2035 due to Federal and State efficiency standards and the addition of more efficient technologies.
Federal and State standards and improved building efficiency, however, do not keep pace with the growth in electricity demand for new electronic equipment, including servers and mainframe computers, which will account for 39% of total commercial electricity consumption in 2035 (see chart below from pg. 66 of report).
Great Forest recommends tracking energy consumption of building operations (which include cooling and lighting) with embedded (or submetered) detail for dedicated technologies like data centers because those tend to move around with tenant populations.
The report makes a good case for starting to collect and analyze alternate, enhanced metrics per capita alongside the adjusted BTU per square foot indicators found in ENERGY STAR. This is especially essential for multi-use buildings.
Call your Great Forest representative to help with your long term energy planning.