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Cost savings and government incentives driving building energy reduction

More than 800 leaders in six countries agree that improving energy efficiency in buildings is top strategy for reducing carbon footprint

Cost savings and government incentives are the top influencers driving an increased focus on energy efficiency in buildings, according to the results of the second annual Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey for Europe. The survey reinforces the growing trend of “greening” buildings seen in Europe in recent years.

“Interest is growing in improving the energy efficiency of buildings to achieve sustainability goals. We know that when organisations have access to external funding and technical expertise, they implement a greater number of improvement measures, achieve greater savings and realise additional energy reductions,” said Iain Campbell, vice president and general manager, Global Energy and WorkPlace Solutions for Johnson Controls.

The EEI survey captured responses from 857 private and public sector leaders responsible for energy-related decisions for nonresidential buildings in six of Europe’s largest economies: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Poland and Italy. The survey results show:

  • More than 73 percent of decision-makers believe the price of energy will increase over the next 12 months.
  • Respondents ranked energy cost savings as the No. 1 influence on energy efficiency decisions in both 2010 and 2011. Government and utility incentives ranked No. 2, up from No. 6 in 2010.
  • The majority of respondents expect enactment of a national policy mandating energy efficiency or carbon reductions within the next two years, and improving energy efficiency in buildings is their top strategy for reducing their organisation’s carbon footprint.
  • A growing number of respondents – 61 percent versus 55 percent in 2010 – indicated that energy management was either “extremely important” or “very important” to their organisations.
  • Sustainable buildings are gaining traction among European facilities, with 32 per cent of respondents having certified at least one green building and an additional 22 percent having incorporated green building elements.
  • A lack of internal funding and technical expertise within organisations are among the top barriers to taking action, but organisations that used external financing have successfully completed projects that produce deeper energy savings.

Organisations that secured financing from financial institutions, utilities, third-party ownership and other alternative sources are more likely to pursue the following types of projects that produce deeper energy savings compared with those that rely on internal budgets:

  • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and/or controls improvements (55 per cent external financing vs. 47 per cent internal budgets).
  • Building enclosure improvements, such as roofs, insulation, windows, seals and weather stripping (36 per cent vs. 19 per cent).
  • Onsite renewable energy (29 per cent vs. 15 per cent).
  • Smart building technologies that optimise real-time energy usage (25 per cent vs. 11 per cent).

“Johnson Controls’ long history of improving efficiency in buildings for customers, such as the retrofit project at the Empire State Building, demonstrates there are solutions and technologies readily available to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Campbell. “ This iconic project is proof that significant cost and emission reductions can be achieved when innovative solutions are pursued.”

The Empire State Building retrofit program will reduce the building’s energy use by 38 per cent per year, placing it in the top 10 percent of all U.S. office buildings for energy efficiency. These improvements will also reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 105,000 metric tons over the next 15 years. Empire State Building owner Tony Malkin will be speaking at this year’s European Energy Efficiency Forum on 11 May. 

Johnson Controls announced the European EEI survey results during the second annual Energy Efficiency Forum, co-hosted by Johnson Controls, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, and The Climate Group. This year’s forum, themed “Energy Efficiency – Time to Get Smarter,” explores integrated ways to promote efficiency in manufacturing, buildings and cities in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. The forum focuses on taking a more integrated approach that encompasses policy, funding, technology, business value and communication to achieve European Climate and Energy objectives, which include a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 20 per cent increase in energy savings by 2020.

The EEI survey is managed by the Institute for Building Efficiency, a Johnson Controls initiative that provides information and analysis of technologies, policies and practices for efficient, high-performance buildings and smart energy systems around the world. The European survey results represent the first set of data from the Institute’s 2011 Global EEI survey.

Global results from nearly 4,000 respondents across Europe, North America, China and India will be announced 16 June at the 22nd annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, DC. 

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