The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Green Lab initiative have released the report “Industry Research and Recommendations for Small Buildings and Small Portfolios,” analyzing untapped opportunities in energy savings. Reported barriers to energy conservation for owners and operators of small buildings (<50,000 sf) and portfolios (a small number of small buildings) include limited capital, higher transaction costs relative to energy cost savings, lack of time to research and implement solutions, split incentive obstacles between owners and tenants, and lack of available sector-specific resources and technologies.
In addition, service providers, utilities, and financial institutions often cater to larger players because ROI is typically faster and larger with big projects. NREL points out that the “small” sector is still important because more than 90% of U.S. commercial buildings fall into this category, accounting for 51% of total floor space and consuming more than 40% of the energy used in U.S. commercial buildings. The authors offer the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office a potential course of action for engaging owners and operators, removing barriers, and establishing and achieving sector-specific energy goals.