Barriers Slow Investments In Energy Efficiency - InformationWeek
Healthcare // Analytics
03:54 PM

Barriers Slow Investments In Energy Efficiency

Urge to conserve trumped by doubts about prices and regulation, survey shows.

Energy efficiency has become increasingly important, but limited funding and uncertainty about future energy prices, government incentives, and legislation have hindered investments.

Johnson Controls joined the International Facility Management Association in April to survey more than 1,400 North American executives who oversee their organizations' energy use and released its Energy Efficiency Indicator survey Wednesday.

The survey found that 71% of business leaders are paying more attention to energy efficiency than they were one year ago, and 58% of the respondents said energy management is extremely or very important. Of organizations that have made public carbon commitments, 45% have identified energy efficiency in buildings as their top carbon reduction strategy, Johnson Controls said.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents with new construction projects said they are seeking green building certification, while 45% said they plan to incorporate green elements but not certify their facilities.

"These findings highlight the fact that business leaders across the U.S. are increasingly aware of the need for energy efficiency and its potential to reduce operating costs while cutting greenhouse gas emissions," C. David Myers, president of Johnson Controls Building Efficiency division, said in a statement. "Economic and regulatory uncertainty, however, are inhibiting organizations from investing in proactive measures."

The survey showed a 10% drop from 2008 in the use of facility capital budgets for energy efficiency projects and a 6% decrease in the number of respondents who said they plan to make investments using their operational budgets. Seventy-six percent of the respondents said that limited capital investment availability presents a barrier to energy savings, while 21% cited unattractive payback as a barrier. Almost 50% of respondents expect return on investment in less than three years.

Respondents were split over whether they thought energy prices would decrease or increase. They do agree that government and utility incentives will drive investment. Eighty-five percent said legislation mandating energy efficiency and/or carbon reduction is likely within the next two years. That's up from 76% in 2008 and 62% in 2007.

Myers said during an interview Wednesday that the federal government's stimulus spending is likely to spur activity for energy efficiency improvements over the next 18 months. Recently, the stimulus package may have slowed spending as organizations waited to see whether preplanned projects would qualify for assistance.

Nearly 45% of the survey respondents said that incentives are either very important or extremely important as they consider energy efficiency. That's up from 38% last year. Respondents said they were considering a variety of technologies and energy sources, including wind, solar thermal, solar electric, and geothermal. Forty-six percent said they're considering solar power, up 8% from the previous year.

Myers said that technology will play a major role in energy projects, in terms of managing use and improving efficiency.

A spokesman for the International Facility Management Association said he believes that "as the economy recovers we will see greater investments in energy reduction and sustainable initiatives."

Download the entire InformationWeek "green" issue, our May 4 magazine distributed solely in PDF form (registration required). We will plant a tree for each of the first 5,000 downloads.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
IT Success = Storage & Data Center Performance
Balancing legacy infrastructure with emerging technologies requires laying a solid foundation that delivers flexibility, scalability, and efficiency. Learn what the most pressing issues are, how to incorporate advances like software-defined storage, and strategies for streamlining the data center.
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll