The state of the United States’ economy over the past few years has been met with a significant focus on cost control in both the public and private sectors. At the same time, the Obama administration has set the aggressive goal of doubling American energy productivity by 2030, which requires an increase in resources – both personnel and financial.
Despite this perceived tension between cost control and environmental responsibility, investment in energy efficiency programs that both reduce costs and have a positive impact on the environment remain a priority in both private and public sector organizations, according to a new Schneider Electric survey conducted at our 2013 Xperience Efficiency events in D.C. and Dallas. In fact, the majority (63 percent) of public and private sector energy leaders we surveyed reported that they have invested in energy efficiency programs in the past 12 months and 43 percent plan to increase their investment in the next year.
In response to both these economic and environmental pressures, the implementation of energy management initiatives has become an imperative for many organizations across the country – and our survey found they are putting in place the appropriate resources to ensure these programs remain a priority. Sixty percent of respondents said that they have at least one person in their organization responsible for energy management.
With these figures in mind, the move toward more intelligent energy management and increased economic sustainability seems promising, as 24 percent of respondents expect building automation to gain traction in the next five years, followed by efficient lighting (21 percent), data center efficiency (16), renewables (9 percent) and smart meters (9 percent). These types of initiatives allow organizations to reduce their energy costs, which 64 percent of respondents reported is the leading driver of energy management decisions in their organizations.
While these results show progress, more can be done, as nearly one-third of U.S. private and public enterprises still take no part in efficiency programs – one likely cause for the U.S.’s dismal ninth place global efficiency ranking amongst the world’s 12 largest global economies. Global energy demand is expected to double by 2050, but by implementing energy management approaches like building automation, efficient lighting and data center efficiency today, we can curb the troubling trend of skyrocketing energy usage. Right now, businesses, governments and homeowners alike can take practical, simple and effective actions to improve efficiency on a personal, local and global level.