Despite a global recession, investment levels in energy efficiency have remained strong according to the Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) released by Johnson Controls.
The survey of more than 2,800 executives and managers responsible for making investments and managing energy in commercial buildings worldwide found that 56% of respondents say they have invested the same or more in energy efficiency over the last 12 months. A regional comparison indicates that respondents have invested the same or more in energy efficiency in China (60%), followed by the United States (59%), Europe (55%) and India (45%).
"These survey results indicate the growing importance on having energy efficient buildings that are cost effective and sustainable," said Dave Myers, president, Building Efficiency, Johnson Controls. "Our business continues to work collaboratively with our customers to help them to address their requirements and achieve measurable and desirable outcomes."
Across all regions surveyed, energy management is considered an important priority among commercial decision-makers (92%). Notably, respondents from India (85%) and China (80%) were more likely to consider energy management very or extremely important as compared to those in Europe (55%) and North America (53%).
"Despite the recession, decision-makers have put efficiency high on their agendas for 2010, especially those in India and China," said Clay Nesler, vice president, Global Energy and Sustainability, Johnson Controls. "It's encouraging to see that the financial returns and environmental benefits of energy efficiency investments are recognized in all regions around the world."
The EEI tracks energy management priorities, practices and investment plans among decision-makers responsible for managing commercial buildings and their energy use. Johnson Controls has conducted the EEI survey in North America for the last four years. This year marks the first time a global survey has been conducted across Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.
While motivations differ from region to region, cost savings is consistently the most important factor driving investments with 97% of respondents identifying it as significant. "It comes as no surprise that global business leaders are looking for responsible ways to cut energy costs. On average, the survey found that decision-makers expect a 9% energy price increase over the next year," said Nesler. Nearly 88% of respondents believe energy prices will rise in China, compared with 79% in India, 68% in Europe, and 64% in North America.
After cost savings, lowering greenhouse gas emissions (74%) is the second most important motivator for energy efficiency in all regions except North America, where boosting public image (63%) and taking advantage of government/utility incentives (62%) rank higher in importance.
"In contrast to other regions, existing legislation was one of the top three factors in Europe. We believe it is indicative of the region's leadership in energy and climate legislation compared to other parts of the world where the prospect for binding legislation remains uncertain," said Nesler.
Globally, 63% of respondents plan to make capital investments in energy efficiency and 70% plan operating budget expenditures in efficiency programs over the next 12 months. Eighty-five percent plan to make efficiency a priority in their new construction and retrofit projects.