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Energy management gains ground globally

Johnson Controls' latest energy efficiency survey reveals that interest in energy management globally has reached an all-time high
Eighty five per cent of building owners and operators globally depend on energy management to drive operational efficiency, according to a recent survey from Johnson Controls, a company delivering solutions designed to increase energy efficiency in buildings. This represents a 34-point increase in the last two years. Energy cost savings and financial incentives are leading this shift, but more than half say they are also looking to improve their public image and increase the value of their buildings.

The 2012 Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator, a global survey of 3,500 building owners and operators, included 944 European respondents concentrated in the UK (331), Germany (307) and France (296).

'Building owners are investing in energy efficiency because they recognise the financial payback,' said Dave Myers, president of Johnson Controls, Building Efficiency. 'This year's survey demonstrates there's a change underway. The mantra for commercial real estate owners used to be location, location, location - now it's becoming location, efficiency, location.'

According to the survey, nearly a third of respondents indicated tax credits, incentives and rebates have the greatest impact on increasing investment in energy efficiency. This finding underscores the role of government policy in the decision making of building owners and operators.

'Nearly 75 per cent of commercial buildings in Europe are more than 20 years old and are ready for energy improvements. Building owners and operators are looking to lawmakers to bring down the cost of energy retrofits through incentives and rebates,' said Mr Myers. 'In Asia, building codes and equipment standards also are helping ensure new buildings are constructed to high performance levels.'
Developing countries are setting the pace with respect to investment with the highest number of respondents - 81 per cent in China and 74 per cent in India - planning to increase investments in energy efficiency or renewable energy. Thirty nine per cent are planning to increase spending in Europe in the next 12 months, the lowest of any region.

Ninety-six per cent of global respondents have implemented at least one building efficiency improvement, led by lighting, heating and air conditioning equipment and controls, and water efficiency. Half of the private sector respondents use the cost savings from energy efficiency upgrades to reduce the company's overall budget while 40 per cent reinvest in further energy efficiency measures.

Green building certifications, or voluntary rating systems, are on the rise with 44 per cent planning to certify existing buildings, up from 35 per cent a year previously. Further, 43 percent plan to certify new construction projects. In Europe, 55 per cent of respondents now have at least one certified green building, 50 per cent in the UK. Thirty five per cent of respondents in Europe planned to pursue certification in new buildings (compared to 31 per cent in 2011) and 44 per cent in existing buildings (compared to 36 per cent in 2011).

'Tenants are willing to pay more to locate their offices in energy efficient buildings,' said Mr Myers. The survey found nearly a quarter of those who responded are willing to pay a premium for space in a certified green building.
Anthony Malkin, owner of the Empire State Building in New York City, confirmed the survey's findings during his remarks at the 23rd Annual North American Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington D.C.

'The Empire State Building's energy efficiency retrofit program has given us a proven model that shows building owners and operators how to integrate energy efficiency into building upgrades, cut costs, and improve the value of their buildings while offering a better environment and occupancy savings for tenants and better profits for the building owner,' said Malkin. One year after an innovative building retrofit project, the Empire State Building has exceeded its first year energy savings guarantee and is on its way to reducing energy costs by 38 per cent, saving $4.4 million (£2.8 million) annually.

Seven further highlights

Additional survey highlights from the UK include:
· 84 per cent said energy management was very or extremely important to their organisations (compared to 64 per cent in 2011), and 82 per cent said they were paying more attention to energy in 2012 than in 2011.

· Sixty per cent of UK respondents had invested in energy efficiency in the past year, the highest percentage in Europe. Thirty-four per cent had invested in renewable energy, more closely aligned to the global average. Forty per cent of business executives planned to increase spending on efficiency and renewables in the next 12 months, while 41 per cent expected investment to stay the same.

· Top carbon reduction strategies in the UK were improving energy efficiency in buildings (25 per cent) and implementing behaviour programmes targeting employees and building occupants (13 per cent) (Figure 3).

· The UK led Europe in behavior-based engagement as an energy savings approach. Energy-focused behavioral or educational programmes were undertaken by 46 per cent of the organisations. The other measures in the top three for the UK were lighting improvements (64 per cent) and HVAC and/or controls improvements (50 per cent).

· The UK had the longest allowable payback among the EU countries surveyed, though payback requirements are tightening in the UK as well: the average allowable payback on efficiency projects averaged 3.5 years, versus 3.7 years in 2011.

· The top barrier to pursuing energy efficiency in UK was lack of funding to pay for improvements (25 per cent), followed by uncertainty regarding savings or performance (18 per cent) and insufficient payback or ROI (13 per cent).

· When asked which energy policy would have the greatest impact on improving energy efficiency in buildings, 29 per cent of executives selected tax credits/incentives, 21 per cent said low interest financing for energy upgrades, and 20 per cent chose stricter building codes and equipment standards.

Among UK respondents, 64 per cent classified their facilities as commercial, 21 per cent as institutional (government buildings, hospitals and schools), and 16 per cent as industrial. Thirty-one per cent of respondents managed more than 500,000 sq ft.

The sixth annual survey of nearly 3,500 building owners and operators around the world was led by the Johnson Controls' Institute for Building Efficiency, the International Facility Management Association and the Urban Land Institute.
8 November 2012


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