Office markets’ future – who will/won’t return – still isn’t clear, but it lost its No. 1 spot in total space in 2018 as the warehouse sector rose to the top.
WASHINGTON – As of 2018, warehouse and storage buildings became the most common type of commercial building in the country, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS).
The most recent CBECS, released in September 2021, was based on buildings characteristics as of 2018. It estimates that the United States had just over 1 million warehouse and storage buildings as of 2018, with a total floorspace of 17.4 billion square feet. It marks the first time since 1979 that warehouse and storage buildings were the most common building type, ranked by both number of buildings and by total square footage.
EIA defines warehouse and storage buildings as ones used to store goods, manufactured products, merchandise, raw materials or personal belongings. Examples of warehouse and storage buildings include refrigerated and non-refrigerated warehouses, distribution or shipping centers and public rental storage units.
The study found that the number of warehouse and storage buildings grew by 26% between 2012 and 2018, while commercial buildings as a whole increased by 7%. The Midwest Census Region saw the largest growth in warehouse and storage, increasing from 163,000 buildings in 2012 to 307,000 buildings in 2018.
Between 1999 and 2018, office buildings were the most common building type in the United States, in terms of both floorspace and number of buildings. Between 2012 and 2018, the number of office buildings declined slightly, even as total office floorspace increased.