Market Research and Insight

The spectre of skyrocketing energy prices is driving “record levels” of projects to improve building efficiency around the globe, a new survey finds. The...

The spectre of skyrocketing energy prices is driving “record levels” of projects to improve building efficiency around the globe, a new survey finds.

The fifth annual global Energy Efficiency Indicator survey — conducted by Johnson Controls’ Institute for Building Efficiency, the International Facility Management Association and the Urban Land Institute — questioned nearly 4,000 building owners and operators around the world. It finds that energy cost savings is the leading motivator for making efficiency improvements to buildings.

“We are seeing record levels of energy management and reduction projects around the world, driven mainly by financial reasons, more than environmental concerns,” said Dave Myers, vice president and president of building efficiency for Johnson Controls. “Regardless of the motivations, buildings account for 42 percent of global energy usage, so the growing trend of making buildings more energy efficient is smart business, helps create local-market jobs, and benefits the environment. We applaud building owners for stepping up efforts to make their facilities more energy efficient and sustainable.”

Among the survey’s findings:

  • Eight in 10 respondents expect double-digit energy price increases over the coming year. As a result, building owners have set an average energy reduction target of 12 percent.
  • Access to funding and financial returns were cited as the top barriers to making efficiency improvements, especially in the US/Canada (38%) and Europe (30%).
  • Seven in 10 respondents — up from six in 10 in 2010 — indicate that energy management is important to them, with respondents in India (89%) and China (85%) expressing the most interest, followed by US/Canada (66%), and Europe (61%).
  • Three out of four building owners/operators have set energy or carbon reduction goals.
  • Nearly four in 10 respondents have achieved at least one green building certification, twice as many as in the prior year. An additional 32% have incorporated green building elements.
  • Building owners planning to pursue green building certifications for existing buildings (39%) slightly outpaced those with plans to certify new construction (35%).
  • Lighting and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and controls improvements continued to be the most popular energy efficiency improvements made last year.

It’s interesting to note that, while building owners have greater access to energy data, few are taking advantage of that information. More than eight in 10 measure and record data at least weekly or monthly, but fewer than two in 10 review and analyze that data at least weekly. Those who have implemented 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 frequently.

“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,” said Tony Keane, president and CEO of the International Facility Management Association. “Managing and operating buildings at peak efficiency will require facility professionals to strengthen their skill sets to successfully utilize these complex building technologies. 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.”

Dan Ilett