Revealed: Energy Efficiency Interest Up, But Limited Action
The second annual Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator tapped into executive decision makers and found that 72% of organizations are paying more attention to energy efficiency than they were a year ago. However, the percentage of companies expected to make efficiency investments in the next year has remained constant. Read On
“It’s one thing to be aware of a problem, and another to take steps to solve it,” said Clay Nesler, vice-president of global energy and sustainability for Johnson Controls. “But as energy prices continue to rise, our research indicates that the combination of economic pressure and environmental awareness will motivate people to make smart investments that have a big payoff in the long term.”
The most significant growth in energy efficiency measures include replacing inefficient equipment before the end of its useful life (41%, up 13% from 2007) and switching to energy efficient lighting (78%, up 11%).
Also, 88% claim that energy efficiency is a design priority in construction and retrofit projects, up 11% from a year ago.
“Businesses are starting to move beyond the low-hanging fruit and make more significant energy efficiency investments,” said Nesler. “It appears that, with more energy efficient design in future development, we’ll see a broader, farther reaching approach to the way in which companies react.”
Motivating factors for respondents ranged from environmental responsibility (17% most important) and cost reduction (36% equally important).
For the first time, Johnson’s Energy Efficiency Indicator probed deeper into how environmental and financial factors influence a company’s energy efficiency decisions:
- Nearly 28% of respondents feel climate change is an extremely or very significant influence, and 31% said it was somewhat significant.
- About 38% believe utility or government incentives are extremely or very influential. For executives with large facilities, that number rose to 45%.
- Nearly 40% believe it is extremely or very likely that, within the next two years, legislation will mandate energy efficiency and/or carbon reduction.
- Nearly one-third (31%) believe that green buildings will be extremely or very important in attracting and retaining future employees.
In last year’s survey, 79% said they expected energy costs to rise, and the average anticipated increase was 13.25%. According to the Energy Information Administration, the reality was that while crude oil prices jumped about 30% between the first and fourth quarters of 2007, commercial natural gas and electricity prices were flat.
In this year’s survey, 80% of respondents believe that natural gas and electricity prices will rise an additional 13.79% over the next year.
Executives surveyed appear increasingly open to investments in renewable energy. In response to a new question this year, 38% said that solar electric panels was being either included or considered in their new construction or retrofit projects, and 24% said they were including or considering solar thermal panels for their projects. One possible explanation is that a significant percentage of executives (38%) said their companies felt it was extremely or very important to minimize dependence on traditional energy sources such as gas, oil and electricity.
The research from Johnson’s Energy Efficiency Indicator identified energy management decision-makers and asked how their organizations were responding to rising energy costs and environmental issues. Members of the International Facility Management Association and the American Society of Healthcare Engineering were included as survey respondents.