Find out what is driving commitments to smart, green and resilient buildings around the world, and what tops the list in the US

by Brianna Crandall — December 3, 2018 — Global multi-industrial technology provider Johnson Controls just unveiled the findings from its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey, revealing that US organizations are planning to increase investments in smart building measures including building controls and building systems integration at a greater rate than more traditional energy efficiency measures.

The survey of nearly 2,000 facilities and energy management executives from 20 countries found that 57% of organizations in the United States and 59% of global organizations plan to increase investment in energy efficiency in the next year. The 12th annual global survey analyzes energy efficiency, renewable energy, building systems integration and smart city plans, practices and investments among executive-level building and city decision-makers.

Over the past decade, traditional energy efficiency measures — such as HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) equipment improvements and lighting upgrades — have become table stakes for many organizations, according to the report. Today, organizations identify greenhouse gas footprint reduction, energy cost savings, energy security and enhanced reputation as key drivers of investment fueling growth in green, net zero energy and resilient buildings.

Smart buildings driving future investment

Building controls improvements were cited as the most popular investment for the next 12 months among US organizations, with 68% of respondents planning to implement this measure. Building system integration saw a 23% increase in respondents planning to invest in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey.

Clay Nesler, vice president, Global Sustainability, Johnson Controls, pointed out:

Organizations are more interested than ever in leveraging energy efficiency, energy storage and distributed generation technologies to deliver smarter, safer and more sustainable buildings. US organizations are especially bullish about the future impact of systems interoperability, systems integration and cybersecurity technologies, leading all other countries.


Due to increasingly severe weather incidents around the world, the 2018 EEI results also highlight a growing global focus on resilience and energy security. One-third of US and global organizations (32% and 33% respectively) believe the ability to maintain critical operations during severe weather events or extended power outages is extremely important when considering future energy and building infrastructure investments.

Roughly half of US and global organizations (54% and 50% respectively) are extremely or very likely to have one or more facilities able to operate off the grid in the next 10 years, a 10% increase in the US from last year. Globally, plans to invest in distributed energy generation, electric energy storage and on-site renewables also increased year-over-year.

2008 vs. 2018: Increased interest and investment in sustainable buildings

Analysis of the annual survey results from 2008 to 2018 revealed dramatic shifts in energy efficiency goals, actions and investments throughout the past decade.

In 2008, very few respondents (8%) had any certified green buildings, and only one-third (34%) planned to certify new construction projects to a recognized green standard. This year, 19% of US organizations have already achieved voluntary green building certification for at least one of their facilities, and 53% plan to in the future, a combined increase of 31% over the past year alone. Globally, 14% of organizations have achieved voluntary green building certification for at least one of their facilities, and 44% plan to in the future.

In 2008, less than one-third of respondents (30%) believed green buildings would be very important in attracting and retaining future employees, but in 2018, 44% of US organizations, and 51% globally, are willing to pay a premium to lease space in a certified green building.

The survey also saw a significant year-over-year increase in net zero energy goals, with 61% of US organizations extremely or very likely to have one or more facilities that are nearly zero, net zero or positive energy/carbon in the next ten years, up 14% from last year.

To download the full results of the 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey, along with specific results for the US and several other countries, visit the Johnson Controls website. The 2018 survey respondents represent the world’s major economic regions and a variety of commercial, institutional and government facility portfolios in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.