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Survey: More firms to invest in energy efficiency measures

Posted: 21 May 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:energy efficiency measures? energy cost? natural gas?

A survey conducted among North American business leaders indicated plans to invest in energy efficiency measures to help fight rising costs of energy prices. Despite the trend toward sustainability, executives cite a desire to decrease energy expenditures within their organizations as a greater motivator than environmental responsibility.

The research, commissioned by Johnson Controls Inc., identified individuals from a wide range of facilities and locations who were decision-makers for energy management issues within organizations and asked how they were responding to rising energy costs, defined as electricity and natural gas costs.

About 52 percent of the executives surveyed said costs savings as either entirely or somewhat the driver for their decision to invest in energy efficiency measures. Thirty-five percent said cost savings and environmental responsibility are equal motivators, while only 13 percent cite environmental concern as the greater motivator.

Consistent with the rising energy cost forecast, 62 percent stated that their companies are paying more attention to energy efficiency today than five years ago. As a result, they are acting on it. Almost 57 percent expect to make energy efficiency improvements using their capital budgets in the next 12 months, spending an average of 8 percent of those budgets. In addition, 64 percent anticipate using their operating budgets, allocating 6 percent to energy efficiency improvements.

Despite the rising energy costs, executives are generally limiting their investments to more conservative energy management solutions. Of respondents who have already made energy efficiency investments, 70 percent educated staff and other facility users on how to be more efficient; 67 percent switched to energy efficient lighting; 60 percent adjusted HVAC controls; and 46 percent installed lighting sensors.

About 75 percent of the executives with companies that are building or planning to build new facilities, or are launching retrofits in the next year, said that energy will be a priority in the design of this of those projects. In terms of energy supply-related matters, 36 percent have negotiated energy contracts with suppliers. Only 14 percent are putting energy price hedging strategies in place. In addition, 11 percent currently have a stated carbon reduction goal.

"This survey provides a valuable snapshot of how organizations are reacting to rising energy prices, and I think we're going to see even more attention paid to this in the future," said C. David Myers, president of the Johnson Controls building efficiency business. "There's a growing realization of the role commercial and industrial facilities play in energy consumption, and the role they can play in making the economy more energy efficient. Johnson Controls believes that employing effective energy management strategies can help mitigate the impact of those costs and improve our country's energy self sufficiency."

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