Monaco -- Cost savings and government incentives are the top influencers driving an increased focus on energy efficiency in buildings, according to the results of the second annual Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey for Europe.
The EEI survey reinforces the growing trend of "greening" buildings seen in Europe in recent years, diversified technology company Johnson Controls said in an 11 May statement.
"Interest is growing in improving the energy efficiency of buildings to achieve sustainability goals. We know that when organisations have access to external funding and technical expertise, they implement a greater number of improvement measures, achieve greater savings and realise additional energy reductions," said Iain Campbell from Johnson Controls.
The EEI survey captured responses from over 800 private and public sector leaders responsible for energy-related decisions for non-residential buildings in six of Europe's largest economies: the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Poland and Italy.
The survey results showed that more than 73 percent of decision-makers believe the price of energy will increase over the next 12 months. Respondents ranked energy cost savings as the No. 1 influence on energy efficiency decisions in both 2010 and 2011. Government and utility incentives ranked No. 2, up from No. 6 in 2010.
And a growing number of respondents - 61 percent versus 55 percent in 2010 - indicated that energy management was either "extremely important" or "very important" to them.
The results come just days after thirty energy efficiency companies and organisations published an open letter to EU energy ministers urging them to move energy efficiency to the heart of Europe's policy.
The letter was prompted by the 2 May meeting of Europe's energy ministers in Budapest, Hungary, which dealt with the EU's energy strategy to 2050. According to a press release on PU Europe's website, the meeting represented a "window of opportunity" to put Europe back on track towards its 20-percent energy savings target, create two million local jobs and reduce dependence on energy imports in a cost-effective way.
However, despite environmental disasters and turmoil in energy markets, European governments are likely to shy away from any binding measures that would realise Europe's full energy savings potential, PU Europe said.
Oliver Loebel, secretary general of PU Europe and one of the signatories of the open letter commented, "Our buildings account for almost 40 percent of the EU's overall energy consumption. Turning them into energy savers is the single most important element if we want the EU to meet its target of reducing CO2 emissions by 80-95 percent by 2050."
He added, "Nobody will claim that the deep renovation of buildings is an easy task, but the gains for all parts of society are by far outweighing any initial difficulties. The usual 'Yes, but...' can no longer be an option!"
PU Europe represents foam producers, raw materials suppliers and component manufacturers in the polyurethane industry in eleven EU member countries. Seven PU Europe member companies belong to the letter's signatories. It was published by EuroACE as part of its Renovate Europe campaign of which PU Europe is a founding member.