Survey Ranks Owners’ Energy Priorities

Aug. 2, 2011

The primary motivation for energy efficiency projects continues to be cost savings, but government incentives and enhanced public image rank second and third, according to the fifth annual global Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey. The survey of nearly 4,000 building owners and operators around the world is led by Johnson Controls’ Institute for Building Efficiency, IFMA, and the Urban Land Institute.

Greenhouse gas reduction fell from the second highest motivator in 2010 to the fourth highest motivator this year.

Eight in 10 respondents expect double-digit energy price increases over the next year, resulting in owners targeting an average energy reduction of 12%.

However, there are significant obstacles in meeting these goals, with access to funding and financial returns cited globally as the top barriers. Barriers to capital access topped the list for respondents in the U.S. and Canada (38%) and Europe (30%).

“This year’s survey clearly shows that there’s growing urgency in making buildings more energy efficient, and large strides have been made with the help of government incentives,” says Dave Myers, Johnson Controls’ corporate vice president and president of the company’s global energy usage division. “However, building owners continue to tell us that access to capital remains the top barrier for improving energy consumption. By making funding more accessible, policymakers have a tremendous opportunity to influence the achievement of their energy and environmental goals.”

Here’s what else building owners and operators are saying:

  • Seven in 10 – up from 6 in 10 – indicate that energy management is important to them, with respondents in India (89%) and China (85%) expressing the most interest, followed by the U.S. and Canada (66%) and Europe (61%).
  • Three out of 4 have set energy or carbon reduction goals.
  • Nearly 4 in 10 have achieved at least one green building certification, twice as many as last year. An additional 32% have incorporated green building elements.
  • Building owners planning to pursue green building certifications for existing buildings (39%) slightly outpace those with plans to certify new construction (35%).
  • Lighting, HVAC, and controls improvements continued to be the most popular energy efficiency improvements made last year.
  • Building owners have greater access to energy data, but few are taking advantage of it. More than 8 in 10 measure and record data at least weekly or monthly, but fewer than 2 in 10 review and analyze that data at least weekly. Those with smart grid/smart building technology, such as advanced energy metering and management systems, are nearly three times more likely to review and analyze their data more frequently.
  • Organizations that set a reduction goal, analyze energy data frequently, add internal or external resources, and use external financing were found to implement four times as many improvement measures as those that did none.

Highlights of the survey results for North America include:

  • There is a double-digit increase in American and Canadian building owners who believe energy management is important (66%) compared to last year (52%).
  • Building owners expect lighting and smart building technology to have greater adoption rates than renewable energy technologies over the next 10 years in the U.S. and Canada.
  • More than three-fourths (77%) of American and Canadian building owners will include green building elements in their facility plans in the next 12 months.
  • Efficiency in buildings remains the top global strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, led by the U.S. and Canada (52%) and followed by Europe (28%), China (27%), and India (24%).

These survey results speak to an increasing number of building owners and operators turning to smart, high-performance building technology to achieve their energy efficiency goals, says Tony Keane, president and CEO of IFMA.

“Managing and operating buildings at peak efficiency will require facility professionals to strengthen their skill sets to successfully utilize these complex building technologies,” he explains. “As more high-performance buildings come online over the next decade, training and credentialing will play an essential role in helping facility professionals manage these buildings at optimal performance levels.”

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