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Finish Carpenter
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Question.

Why are commercial buildings so poorly insulated? The walls never seem to have anything and the ceilings don't either. Every time I stick my head above a drop ceiling I see right to metal roof deck...sometimes I can even see light coming in at places. Why are these large buildings designed this way? Doesn't this make heating and cooling absurd and more then just recklessly wasteful? We keep slamming residential homes with more and more energy codes but ignore commercial buildings?
 

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I've wondered the same thing.
 

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The general reason is that commercial building energy loads are assumed to be internally-dominated, while residential building loads are assumed to be envelope-dominated. There are two reasons for this:
1) Residential buildings usually have a higher surface area/volume ratio, so the surface becomes a more important factor.
2) Insulation is a lot more pragmatic for keeping heat in than keeping cold in (although it can obviously do both). Commercial buildings generally have a lot of heat-generating equipment, e.g. computers, so keeping the heat in isn't as desirable as in residential settings.

It may also just be that there's more pressure for lenient codes coming from businesses than from individual homeowners, although I don't know much about that.

Disclaimer: I'm an academic
 

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You have to insulate them if they're conditioned (habitable) space in California. Lots of time the insulation envelope will be at the drop ceiling, sitting on top of the acoustical tile.
 

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These type of buildings are built as cheap as possible and rented for as much as possible. Typically the tenant is responsible for their own utilities. Its a win-win for the developer. Your average renter generally don't even think about utilities. Besides its a business deduction.
 

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Finish Carpenter
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
These type of buildings are built as cheap as possible and rented for as much as possible. Typically the tenant is responsible for their own utilities. Its a win-win for the developer. Your average renter generally don't even think about utilities. Besides its a business deduction.
Think about all the wasted energy...it HAS to exceed the amounts in residential building. Everytime its too hot or too cold the utility companies start saying people in home need to turn their thermostats up or down to save energy....why not just make this large POS building be more on par and I bet most of this problem
goes away for a while.

I don't think it is a win/win, it is short sighted and stupid.
 
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