A new report from software firm Hatch Data anticipates that commercial buildings will use 44 billion kilowatt hours of additional energy when pre-pandemic occupancy levels return.
Offices were at 94% occupancy in February 2020, using around $30 billion of electricity annually.
In April 2020, occupancy had fallen down to 15%, but office energy usage was still at 76% of February levels. As of July 2021, office energy usage was back up to $29 billion.
One of the biggests reasons for high energy usage with low occupancy rates is due to companies having to upgrade their air ventilation systems and keep them running in order to keep the space safe from spread.