Johnson Controls has unveiled the findings from its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey, revealing that organisations are planning to increase investments in smart building measures including building controls and building systems integration at a greater rate than more traditional energy efficiency measures.

The survey of nearly 2000 facility and energy management executives from 20 countries found that 57 percent of organisations in the United States and 59 percent of global organisations plan to increase investment in energy efficiency in the next year.

Over the past decade, traditional energy efficiency measures – such as HVAC equipment improvements and lighting upgrades – have become table stakes for many organisations. Today, organisations identify greenhouse gas footprint reduction, energy cost savings, energy security and enhanced reputation as key drivers of investment fuelling growth in green, net zero energy and resilient buildings.
Smart buildings driving future investment

Building controls improvements were cited as the most popular investment for the next 12 months among U.S. organisations, with 68 percent of respondents planning to implement this measure. Building system integration saw a 23 percent increase in respondents planning to invest in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey.

"Organisations are more interested than ever in leveraging energy efficiency, energy storage and distributed generation technologies to deliver smarter, safer and more sustainable buildings," said Clay Nesler, vice president, Global Sustainability, Johnson Controls. "U.S. organisations are especially bullish about the future impact of systems interoperability, systems integration and cybersecurity technologies, leading all other countries."

Due to increasingly severe weather incidents around the world, the 2018 EEI results also highlight a growing global focus on resilience and energy security. One third of U.S. and global organisations (32 percent and 33 percent respectively) believe the ability to maintain critical operations during severe weather events or extended power outages is extremely important when considering future energy and building infrastructure investments. Roughly half of U.S. and global organisations (54 percent and 50 percent respectively) are extremely or very likely to have one or more facilities able to operate off the grid in the next ten years, a ten percent increase in the U.S. from last year. Globally, plans to invest in distributed energy generation, electric energy storage and on-site renewables also increased year-over-year.

2008 vs. 2018: Increased interest and investment in sustainable buildings

Analysis of the annual survey results from 2008 to 2018 revealed dramatic shifts in energy efficiency goals, actions and investments throughout the past decade.

In 2008, very few respondents (8 percent) had any certified green buildings and only one-third (34 percent) planned to certify new construction projects to a recognised green standard. This year, 19 percent of U.S. organisations have already achieved voluntary green building certification for at least one of their facilities, and 53 percent plan to in the future, a combined increase of 31 percent over the past year alone. Globally, 14 percent of organisations have achieved voluntary green building certification for at least one of their facilities and 44 percent plan to in the future.

In 2008, less than one-third of respondents (30 percent) believed green buildings would be very important in attracting and retaining future employees, but in 2018, 44 percent of U.S. organisations, and 51 percent globally, are willing to pay a premium to lease space in a certified green building.

The survey also saw a significant year-over-year increase in net zero energy goals, with 61 percent of U.S. organisations extremely or very likely to have one or more facilities that are nearly zero, net zero or positive energy/carbon in the next ten years, up 14 percent from last year.

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