Skip to main content
On a typical day, many different activities are taking place in the cities, towns, and rural areas of Wisconsin. In the early morning, dairy farmers are milking cows.
​Throughout the day, customers are shopping for food, clothes, household goods, and gifts at stores and malls, while appliances, tools, paper products, and automobiles are being produced in factories and mills.
​Theaters are showing the latest movies during the afternoon and evening. Guests are staying at motels overnight.

What do all of these activities have in common? They are all using energy to produce goods and provide services for Wisconsin citizens and out-of-state visitors to consume.

The amount of energy used by commercial businesses, industries, farms, government, and other institutions is large. Taken together, businesses and community institutions use about three-quarters of all energy used in Wisconsin. The energy they use comes from coal, fuel oil, natural gas, and electricity generated by fossil and nuclear fuels, and renewable energy resources such as wood, hydroelectric power, biomass fuels, solar, and wind.

Some businesses and industries even produce energy for their own needs. Other industries, like electric and natural gas utilities, provide energy resources to Wisconsin’s homes, businesses, and industries.

Click below to find data illustrating Wisconsin energy use in graphs.
Wisconsin and Unites States Energy Use and Data

The ways businesses and institutions use energy seem so different that it may be hard to find common energy end uses between them. After all, what end uses might a dairy farm, a paper mill, and a movie theater have in common? Despite their apparent differences, a number of end uses are common to most businesses and institutions.

For example, nearly all buildings require air conditioning, lighting, space heating, and water heating. Another common end use is office equipment; nearly every business and institution has at least one computer, server, and printer to organize and communicate information.

Visit Economic Sectors and End Uses to learn more.

Some end uses, although common to many businesses, vary in terms of the amount of energy they use depending on the business. For instance, cooking and refrigeration are major end uses in restaurants but are minor end uses in offices that have a coffee maker, microwave oven, and refrigerator in their break rooms. Certain end uses in industry (e.g., process heating and motor-driven machinery for manufacturing) and in agriculture (e.g., crop drying and irrigation) are only found within these sectors. The types of equipment listed under the miscellaneous equipment end-use category are also specific to a particular business and institution. Examples range from drills used by dentists to video games at arcades. (Taken from the KEEP Energy Education Activity Guide “Community Energy Use.”)

One way to find out more about business and industry in your community is to complete a Community Energy Use Survey. In doing so, you will be able to find out who are the largest energy users in your area and what the predominant end uses are.