Find out what executive-level FMs around the world are thinking and doing about energy efficiency

by Brianna Crandall — October 30, 2017 — The 2017 Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey of more than 1,500 facility and management executives in the United States, Canada and 10 other countries indicates that 70% of organizations are paying more attention to energy efficiency than a year ago and 58% are expecting to increase investments next year.

Cost reduction remained the most important driver for investments globally, with 77% rating it as a very or extremely significant factor in driving investments. In the US and Canada, greenhouse gas emissions reduction and energy security were the most significant drivers at 92% and 91%, respectively. These factors were ranked second and third in the global results and represent the highest ranking for greenhouse gas emissions reductions since the survey began.

Consistent with the previous year’s studies, investments in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment was the most popular improvement made last year, reported by 75% of respondents. However, when asked about planned investments over the coming year, on-site renewable energy leads, with 57% of organizations planning to invest. Energy storage is gaining momentum as well, with 48% of organizations planning to make investments in the next year.

Increased investment in on-site renewable and electric storage may be driven by increasing interest in net-zero energy buildings and facility resilience.  Just over half (54%) of organizations are planning to achieve near-zero, net-zero or energy-positive status for at least one building within the next 10 years.

A full 71% of respondents state that maintaining critical operations during severe weather events or extended power outages is very or extremely important when considering future infrastructure investments. Additionally, 52% of respondents say they are very or extremely likely to have one or more facilities able to operate off the grid in the next 10 years.

Rod Rushing, president, Building Solutions, North America at Building Technologies and Solutions, Johnson Controls, stated:

While the survey was completed before the recent wave of hurricanes, it shows the growing attention being paid to resilience. Smart, sustainable buildings served by distributed energy resources and energy storage can provide the added security that building owners are looking for around the globe.

Government policy continues to be important, with 52% of organizations rating it as a very or extremely significant driver for investment. When asked to identify the most effective policies driving investments in energy improvement, 83% of survey participants ranked building performance benchmarking and certification as very or extremely important, followed closely (81%) by government leadership in leasing, building design and retrofits.

Clay Nesler, vice president, Global Energy and Sustainability, Johnson Controls, pointed out:

Benchmarking and certification of building performance are important drivers of investment and improvement. Programs like EnergyStar  and green building rating systems provide a means of measuring and comparing building performance while providing recognition for efforts to improve efficiency, health, comfort, productivity and other outcomes.

Smart buildings continue to gain momentum, with 46% of global respondents investing in building systems integration last year. The top four building systems that have already been integrated with other building systems include energy management (43%), lighting (43%), security (40%) and life safety (38%). More than 80% of organizations plan to integrate their building systems in the future.

2017 marks the 11th year Johnson Controls has conducted EEI surveys, which analyze energy efficiency and renewable energy plans, practices and investments among executive-level decision makers responsible for energy and facility management in buildings. This year’s respondents come from 12 countries, representing the world’s major economic regions and a variety of commercial, institutional and government facility portfolios. The countries were: the United States, Canada, Poland, France, Mexico, Argentina, India, Singapore, China, Colombia, Brazil and Germany.

This year’s results were presented at the 28th annual Energy Efficiency Forum hosted by Johnson Controls, the United States Energy Association and the Embassy of Canada.

To read a summary report, visit the EE Forum Web site.

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and multi-industrial leader serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries, with 120,000 employees who create intelligent buildings, efficient energy solutions, integrated infrastructure and next-generation transportation systems for smart cities and communities. Its Building Technologies and Solutions division brands include Tyco, YORK, Metasys, Ruskin, Titus, Frick, PENN, Sabroe, Simplex and Grinnell.