Planned spending on energy efficiency is expected to rise in 2010, according to the fourth annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey. Conducted by Johnson Controls in association with the International Facility Management Association, the survey polled more than 1,400 CEOs, CFOs, real estate leaders, and facility managers across the U.S. about their energy management plans and potential investments.

Of those surveyed in March 2010, 52 percent of respondents reported that they planned to make capital expenditures and 60 percent planned to make operating budget investments in energy efficiency improvements over the next twelve months, up from 46 percent and 55 percent, respectively, in 2009. Also, over the last year 27 percent reported investing in efficiency measures at what they consider to be historic levels and 32 percent reported investing more in energy efficiency as a result of the U.S. economic recession. However, 41 percent of respondents reported investing less in efficiency initiatives.

In considering upcoming investments, the main motivational drivers reported were cost reductions, enhanced public and brand image, government and utility incentives, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and customer attraction. Other influencers included pending regulation, existing legislation, the ability to attract and retain employees, and the ability to attract tenants.

In a further breakdown of respondents, the survey found differences in the likelihood of investment depending on both organizational size and industry sector. According to the survey, small business and organizations are less likely to invest in energy efficiency measures compared with large businesses, and government and education organizations are more likely to invest than other sectors such as finance and insurance, manufacturing, retail, and healthcare. Of these sectors, retail ranked lowest in planned investments, with only 26 percent of respondents indicating plans to make energy efficiency improvements financed with capital expenditures over the next 12 months.

Overall, survey results indicate that energy efficiency remains a strong business priority, with 65 percent of respondents noting they are paying more attention to energy efficiency than they were a year prior, and 84 percent reporting that energy efficiency is a priority in planned new construction and retrofit projects.

The biggest obstacles to investments in energy efficient measures, according to the survey, are limited capital availability, followed by issues with insufficient payback and savings uncertainty. Forty-four percent of respondents reported that they require a payback of less than three years on energy efficiency investments.

In surveying participants regarding the types of efficiency measures they were putting in place or were planning, lighting retrofits were the most popular for the third year in a row. Seventy-two percent of respondents reported switching to energy efficient lighting and 40 percent reported installing occupancy or daylight sensors. In contrast, investments in solar electric technologies decreased from 46 percent in 2009 to 31 percent, solar thermal dropped from 27 percent in 2009 to 20 percent in 2010, wind decreased to 13 percent, down from 21 percent in 2009, and geothermal dropped from 20 percent in 2009 to 14 percent in 2010. When asked to choose three technologies expected to see the greatest improvement in performance-to-price ratio between 2010 and 2020, those surveyed chose lighting (51 percent), smart building technologies (44 percent) and solar PV systems (38 percent) as the top three.

For more information about the 2010 Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey, visit http://bit.ly/2009eei.