Driving to Green Buildings: The Transportation Energy Intensity of Buildings
For an average office building in the U.S., 30% more energy is expended by workers getting to and from the building than the building itself uses. For an average office building built to modern energy codes, more than twice as much energy is used by commuters than by the building itself. This data suggests that much more focus should be put into where we locate buildings and how strongly we encourage alternatives to single-occupancy vehicles, including public transit, walking, and bicycling. This article introduces the term “transportation energy intensity” as a metric of building performance.