Institutional, or campus, markets are commonly designated by large individual commercial buildings or a collection of facilities all owned or operated by a single entity like Microsoft or your local state university.  The one thing these large institutions have in common is ample opportunity to save energy.  Due to the large number of people that use these buildings and the long hours they are in use, they are primed for significant energy savings in their utilities such as heating, cooling, hot water, and lighting.  In addition, many institutional owners are in business for the long haul and are more interested in the true life cycle costs associated with their buildings.  Retrofitting existing facilities with energy efficiency measures can in many cases: replace aging equipment, provide increased comfort, improve indoor air quality, provide better overall control, and improve lighting, all while paying for itself through decreased energy usage and maintenance costs.  In addition, with the right design and construction team, the additional costs to build a new academic facility to a very high sustainability standard (USGBC’s LEED) can be indistinguishable from building to code. (See below)

Cost per Square Foot of Academic Buildings, including LEED and Non-Certified Buildings:


Source: Langdon, D., The Cost of Green Revisited: Reexamining the Feasibility and Cost Impact of Sustainable Design in the Light of Increased Market Adoption, 2007.

As of 2008, commercial buildings consumed roughly 20% of energy used in the US. It is expected that by 2035 commercial building floor space will increase 54% over 2003 levels, accounting for 110.5 billion ft_ of conditioned space. According to recent studies published by the Mckinsey Global Institute, "there are viable opportunities for energy improvements that could keep global energy demand growth at less than 1% per annum."  Efficiency improves bottom line as a means of staying relevant, many businesses are capitalizing on grants, incentives, and private funding to increase their operation efficiency. Energy efficiency measures are financially supported by the federal government, state utilities, and state government. Energy conservation measures have a fast return on investment (3-7 years in many circumstances)

The biggest energy uses for most commercial buildings are lighting and indoor climate control (in excess of 50% of the energy load), both of which are excellent candidates for efficiency measures that return on investment. According to the Rocky Mountain Institute: "there are abundant opportunities to save 70 - 90% of the energy and cost for lighting, fan, and pump systems: 50% for electric motors, and 60% in areas of heating, cooling, o_ce equipment and appliances".