Pressed by concerns about rising energy costs, building execs worldwide say that a greater need for savings is driving stronger efforts to make facilities energy efficient.
That's a key finding of the latest and largest global study by Johnson Controls Inc., its Institute for Building Efficiency and its partners in the fifth annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey -- the International Facility Management Association and the Urban Land Institute.
The survey results are being released later today at the North American Energy Efficiency Forum, which Johnson Controls and the U.S. Energy Association are conducting in Washington, D.C.
"There is clearly a trend around the focus on energy efficiency and the need to make it a greater and greater priority in decision-making in operating facilities," said Dave Myers, president of Building Efficiency and a corporate vice president for Johnson Controls, who outlined major survey findings during a phone interview with GreenBiz.com.
The nearly 4,000 building owners and operators, from CEOs to frontline facilities managers, who responded to the latest survey have a "high expectation for rising energy costs," said Myers. Eight in 10 anticipate double-digit price increases in the next year and with that expectation comes a "greater emphasis on the cost-savings side of energy efficiency," he said.
Those factors are pushing companies to pursue energy management and efficiency projects at record levels, so now more than ever, it's essential for those projects to deliver solid cost savings, the survey indicates. That need has placed cost savings more firmly at the top of reasons why companies are turning to building efficiency improvements. Government incentives and enhanced public image, respectively, are the second and third most cited reasons. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which was ranked second as a driver in the 2010 survey, slipped to fourth place this year.
Highlights of the survey results include:
• Energy management grows in importance. Seven in 10 respondents say so this year, compared with six in 10 in 2010. A global snapshot of the response shows 89 percent of the respondents in India consider it important; in China, 85 percent; in the U.S. and Canada, 66 percent; and Europe, 61 percent.
• Building efficiency remains the leading strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions according to 52 percent of the respondents from the U.S. and Canada, 28 percent in Europe, 27 percent in China and 24 percent in India.