U.S. firms to boost smart building controls over traditional efficiency

U.S. organizations are planning to increase investments in smart building controls and systems integration at a greater rate than more traditional energy efficiency measures, according to the results of a study released by Johnson Controls, Milwaukee.

The company’s 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey polled nearly 2,000 facility and energy management executives from 20 countries and found that 57% of organizations in the United States and 59% of global organizations 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 organizations, the company said in a release. Today, organizations identify greenhouse gas footprint reduction, energy cost savings, energy security and enhanced reputation as key drivers of investment fueling growth in green, net zero energy and resilient buildings.

Over two-thirds (68%) of U.S. respondents plan building controls improvements over the next 12 months and building system integration saw a 23% increase in respondents planning to invest in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey.

“Organizations 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. organizations are especially bullish about the future impact of systems interoperability, systems integration and cybersecurity technologies, leading all other countries.”

The 2018 EEI results also highlight a growing global focus on resilience and energy security due to increasingly severe weather incidents around the world, with one third of U.S. and global organizations citing the importance of being able to maintain critical operations during severe weather events or extended power outages.

Roughly half of U.S. and global organizations said they are extremely or very likely to have one or more facilities able to operate off the grid in the next ten years, a 10% 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.

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