The glass and glazing industry recognizes there is a big gap in the commercial building stock between buildings that still utilize single-glazed windows and those that feature glazing with performance-improving attributes. So where is that glass?™ is here to show you.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) released the results of its 2012 Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey. The survey collected specific data on the commercial building stock in the U.S., which totaled more than 5.5 million buildings at the time.

One of the data sections highlights windows, breaking down the number of commercial buildings in each subsector that include certain glazing features. Among those features were “multipaned windows,” “tinted window glass” and “reflective window glass.”™ crunched the numbers to present the percentage of buildings in each subsector that utilize each type of glazing. The data gives an indication of which sectors use these types of glazing the most, and which don’t. (See bottom of story for total number of buildings in each sector.)

According to the survey, 54.2 percent of commercial buildings utilize multi-glazing. Here’s how that category breaks down by subsector:

commercial multi glazing

Meanwhile, 33.7 percent of buildings were reported as having tinted glass:

commercial tinted

Finally, just 9.9 percent of all commercial buildings, according to the survey, used reflective glass:

commercial reflective


  • The healthcare sector, particularly in-patient buildings, dominates in all three categories. That’s not necessarily a surprise, given the strong emphasis put on hospitals on occupant comfort. With continued attention placed on the impact of glazing in healthcare environments, that percentage should increase as new construction projects continue to grow in the economic recovery.
  • The office sector was also strong in each category, likely due to a similar focus on occupant comfort. Studies have shown occupant comfort in work settings improves productivity, which has also been emphasized further in recent years and should result in an increase in these numbers.
  • Educational buildings were in the bottom third percentage-wise when compared to other sectors. School construction has been in a lull due to lack of public funding in most of the U.S., but according to projections by Dodge Data & Analytics, that is turning around. Additionally,™ has observed a trend of local news stories in recent months regarding renovation projects in schools, including the replacement of old, inefficient windows.
  • Energy efficiency and green building practices in general are now the standard in new construction, and the glass and glazing industry continues to explore ways to target the large stock of single-glazed buildings for renovation and retrofitting. This combination should yield improved numbers in the overall commercial building stock in the coming years.

[Total number of buildings per sector: all buildings – 5,557,000; office – 1,012,000; warehouse/storage – 796,000; service – 619,000; mercantile – 602,000; religious worship – 412,000; education – 389,000; public assembly – 352,000; food service – 380,000; food sales – 177,000; lodging – 158,000; in-patient healthcare – 10,000; out-patient healthcare – 147,000; public order/safety – 84,000.]

Keep an eye out for the December issue of USGlass magazine, as we cover the state of the commercial building stock and what the industry is doing to address the ripe retrofit market.