Energy efficiency in commercial buildings is experiencing an interest growth in Asia, with a jump of 10 per cent from 2010 according to a new worldwide study published by Johnson Controls on Monday.
The primary reasons for this increase are operational cost savings and government policies and incentives, both of which encourage building owners in Asia to make better use of their energy resources or install renewable energy sources.
However, some challenges still remain. The Johnson Controls study also cited a lack of capital and insufficient returns as main obstacles preventing building owners from embracing more energy efficient buildings.
The global company specialising in efficiency solutions surveyed 1,263 business executives from Australia, China, India and Singapore for this 2013 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) study, which provides a snapshot of energy efficiency in Asia Pacific for the first time.
This is also the first time Singapore ever participated in the survey since it started in 2006.
The rest of the usual participating countries are from the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany and the United Kingdom, with 1,762 energy decision makers.
This seventh EEI analysis noted that obstacles to energy efficiency adoption are similar across countries around the world.
Findings from this year’s study show a growing interest in energy efficiency in Asia, but also suggests that public policies and private investment must work together to transform interest into action in Asia
Soren Bjerg, Johnson Controls Building Efficiency Asia vice president and managing director
In Singapore and India, respondents referred to the insufficient capital and payback as barriers to implementation. They also cited a lack of knowledge on the improved savings and performance that an energy efficient building can contribute to a company’s bottom line, plus having hardly any technical experts to evaluate or execute projects, or suggest opportunities.
In China, insufficient payback was the significantly higher reason for not adopting energy management practices, according to the study, while in Australia the top reason was access to available capital.
Singapore is already addressing these issues with the Building and Construction Authority’s call to building owners to voluntarily disclose their buildings’ energy performance at the recently concluded International Green Building Conference.
The national agency also plans to name the top 20 per cent energy efficient buildings in Singapore by early 2014 in their first annual green building report. This move is meant to spur healthy competition among building owners and encourage them to retrofit existing buildings.
The EEI study did note that the city-state has a more mature market, with 73 per cent of respondents saying that energy management is either extremely or very important.
Still, despite the uncertainty and hindrances in China and India, the two populous nations have the highest interest levels in energy efficiency globally at 61 per cent and 58 per cent respectively. Part of this is because of the need for energy security in their countries, the study emphasised.
A key difference between these two countries, however, is how Indian organisations also accounted for enhanced brand or public image as one of the main five drivers for energy efficiency.
Among the ten countries participating in the survey, Singapore is the only other country that noted the same factor.
The Asia Pacific countries, though with diverse markets, generally favoured the use of tax credits or incentives as the energy policy with the greatest impact, the study said. Australia showed a notably high preference for this at 30 per cent.
China likewise favours such government assistance together with green appraisal standards and stricter building codes.
Soren Bjerg, vice president and managing director of Johnson Controls Building Efficiency Asia, said: “Findings from this year’s study show a growing interest in energy efficiency in Asia, but also suggests that public policies and private investment must work together to transform interest into action in Asia.”