Energy efficiency will be a growing focus in the commercial building market in 2011, predicts a new white paper from Pike Research, a market research and consulting firm focused on clean technology markets. The paper, “Building Efficiency: Ten Trends to Watch in 2011 and Beyond,” is available for free download at pikeresearch.com.

“Buildings account for about a third of global energy use, and as much as 40 percent of energy consumed in the United States. Therefore, they represent a prime opportunity for efficiency improvements,” says senior analyst Mike Wapner. “As such, the commercial building sector is combing an increasingly attractive market for technology and service companies alike. From energy management systems to LED lighting, the industry is in a period of strong technological innovation.”

Among Pike Research’s predictions for 2011 are:

1. Energy codes will keep raising the bar and enforcement is catching up. Key trends here, according to the report, are that energy codes are becoming more stringent, more municipalities and states are adopting more stringent codes, and compliance and enforcement also are improving.

2. Mandatory disclosure rules will incentivize building owners to invest in energy efficiency. Mandatory disclosure rules are already growing in popularity overseas. Under these rules, building owners must disclose the energy consumption of properties they are planning to sell or rent. The study asserts that efficient spaces end up being more desirable properties and owners looking to minimize vacancy rates will invest in energy-efficient upgrades to keep their properties competitive. The study predicts the expansion of mandatory disclosure legislation across the U.S.

3. The pace of building certification will increase, led by LEED. Although LEED certification and registration numbers are down from 2009 peaks, Pike Research project certifications will rise as the construction markets recover, with the USGBC’s LEED green building rating program continuing to dominate the global market.

4. Building energy management systems (BEMS) are in high demand. Specifically, the paper predicts that BEMS will be more prevalent in offices, universities, and healthcare buildings, as a significant percentages of spaces in these markets are old (20 years old or more) and older buildings have higher untapped energy-efficiency potential. The largest market, however, according to the study, remains office buildings.

5. The U.S. ESCO market will see moderate growth and ESCOs in Asia Pacific’s developing markets will advance rapidly. While the study predicts steady growth in the U.S., it notes highest potential in China and India.

6. Lighting: 2011 will not yet be the year of the LED. While LED technology continues to improve, the study warns caution as cost still remains a significant initial barrier to adoption.

7. The connection between efficient buildings and the smart grid will continue to grow.

8. An increasing number of financing options will continue to emerge to support building efficiency programs. Among them: government grants, government-backed loans, tax incentives, performance contracting, and utility rebates.

9. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is a financing option struggling to overcome a roadblock of its own. Through this financing, which as been passed in 23 states and is proposed in eight additional states, property owners receive bonds to finance energy retrofits. The bonds are then repaid over 20 years through an annual assessment on their property tax bill. The paper predicts that initial commercial applications may include buildings less than 200,000 square feet in size, such as office buildings under six feet, select service hotels, and small malls with central HVAC.

10. Systemic conditions, policy choices, and practical considerations will continue to present barrier to achieving energy efficiency, but investments in training, information access, and technology will gradually overcome many of them.

To download the entire white paper for free, visit pikeresearch.com.