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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Energy Efficiency Investments Declined Last Year

Last week the results of the third annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey were released. The survey is conducted by Johnson Controls Inc. and International Facility Management Association.

For the second year in a row, the survey showed businesses are spending less on energy efficiency. However, 71 percent of survey respondents said they are paying more attention to energy efficiency than they were a year ago. Last year, 72 percent said they paid more attention to energy efficiency.

Although 58 percent said energy management is very or extremely important, only 46 percent expect to make energy efficiency improvements financed with capital expenditures, down from 56 percent in 2008. Sixty percent expect to spend less than ten percent of their facilities related budgets on energy efficiency.

Respondents cited limited capital availability (42 percent) and unattractive paybacks (21 percent) as the two biggest obstacles to enacting energy efficiency projects. Almost 50 percent require payback periods that are less than three years.

Sixty percent think that natural gas and electricity prices will increase over the next year, down from 80 percent in 2008. Thirty-one percent do not expect prices to increase.

The majority of respondents (85 percent) think that legislation mandating energy efficiency and carbon reduction is likely within the next two years. Forty-four percent said government incentives are extremely influential in making energy efficiency decisions.

"I think we'll see substantial change next year," said C. David Myers, president of Building Efficiency for Johnson Controls. "And I think that change will be action where activity was laggard this year. I also think there will be a better economic environment next year compared with what you see today."

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