Johnson Controls, the global renowned company in the field of smart and sustainable building solutions, released the findings of its annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey, which found that more than half of organisations plan to increase investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology next year, comparable with investment trends after the 2010 recession. Of the factors determining investment, the majority (85 percent) said that reducing energy costs was a very or extremely important driver of investment and more than three-quarters (76 percent) believe that protecting the health and safety of occupants during emergencies was a very or an extremely important driver of investment. Need to enhance health and safety of buildings Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to improve the health and safety of buildings" “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to improve the health and safety of buildings, particularly by increasing their ability to operate under different conditions, both planned and unforeseen,” said Clay Nesler, Vice President of global energy and sustainability at Johnson Controls. Clay adds, “Though the pandemic has altered how people are investing in their buildings, occupant health and energy efficiency continue to be top of mind and we anticipate these investments will be a priority in 2021 as more people return to shared spaces.” Despite reduced occupancy, the study found that facility energy use dropped surprisingly little during the pandemic, with less than 10 percent of facilities reducing energy use more than 20 percent. Investments in improving Indoor Air Quality and flexibility As the world learns more about the spread of Covid-19 through aerosol transmission, indoor air quality has become one of the most pressing issues for facility managers to address. The survey found that 79 percent have already or are planning to increase air filtration, three-quarters have already or are planning to install an air treatment system and 72 percent have already or are planning to increase outdoor air ventilation rates. The majority of respondents, 81 percent, said that increasing the flexibility of facilities to quickly respond to a variety of emergency conditions was very or extremely important driver of investment. Further, in an increasingly digital world, the integration of systems has become more important than ever. Integration of security systems with building technology Three-quarters (75 percent) of respondents’ organisations have invested in the integration of security systems with other building technology systems, a 36 percent increase from the 2019 study. And one-third of respondents (33 percent) plan to invest in the integration of building technology systems with distributed energy resources in the next year, a 15 percent increase over 2020. “Digital offerings that integrate a number of systems are more of a priority than ever for organisations evaluating their investment plans for 2021,” said Michael Ellis, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer and Chief Digital Officer at Johnson Controls. OpenBlue offerings We took note of this trend, which is why we invested in our comprehensive OpenBlue offerings" Michael adds, “We took note of this trend, which is why we invested in our comprehensive OpenBlue offerings and continue to expand those with partners to meet their increasingly interconnected needs around energy efficiency, sustainability, digitisation and occupant health.” The integration of new technology continues to be a theme, with 79 percent of respondents noting that data analytics and machine learning will have an extremely or very significant impact on buildings, up five percent from last year’s study. Increased Interest in Net Zero Energy Buildings The study found growing interest in net zero energy buildings and resiliency, with 70 percent of organisations very or extremely likely to have one or more facilities that are nearly zero, net zero or positive energy or carbon status in the next 10 years – an increase of seven percent from 2019. Further, two-thirds of organisations are very or extremely likely to have one or more facilities able to operate off the grid in the next 10 years – an increase of three percent from 2019. Additionally, 63 percent of organisations invested in onsite renewable energy in 2020, a 22 percent increase from the organisations that said they were planning to in the 2019 study. Funding Facility Improvements The 2020 survey found that funding for facility improvements increasingly came from internal capital budget (71 percent), energy services agreements (24 percent) and economic stimulus and recovery funds (20 percent).
Johnson Controls has entered into an agreement with CBRE, World Resources Institute (WRI) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to test and deploy an open-source, web-based energy analysis tool to identify energy efficient retrofit opportunities in commercial buildings. The initiative is part of the Johnson Controls and CBRE Innovation Lab, which was established three years ago to evaluate, connect and leverage products, services and energy data to create value for occupiers and investors of real estate. Retrofit opportunities The initiative also supports the Building Efficiency Accelerator, a public-private collaboration that accelerates local government implementation of building efficiency policies and programs where Johnson Controls serves the role of co-convener along with the World Resources Institute. Berkeley Lab is working with Johnson Controls to automate and improve the LEAN energy analysis tool Johnson Controls developed the LEAN energy analysis technology over the past eight years and has used the tool to analyse retrofit opportunities in over 700 buildings. Berkeley Lab is working with Johnson Controls to automate and improve the LEAN energy analysis tool and create an open-source version of the tool for public use. CBRE will be an initial deployment partner, using the tool to help their enterprise customers target cost-effective energy efficiency retrofit opportunities across their real estate portfolios. Drive greater investment WRI will use the open-source tool to help local governments around the world target the best opportunities for retrofitting public and private buildings within their jurisdictions. “This is a big step forward in providing commercial, institutional and government building owners and managers with open-source, easy-to-use tools to target building efficiency improvement opportunities,” said Clay Nesler, vice president, global sustainability and regulatory affairs, Johnson Controls. “We believe this initiative will help drive greater investment in energy efficiency by turning readily available, monthly building energy consumption data into specific, cost-effective recommendations for improvement.”