New survey of facility managers shows current patters of energy management and investments

Marketwired writes an important article on the Yahoo Finance website about a recent survey by the consulting firm DNV GL of facility managers. While the survey was undertaken in the US, the lessons learned are for practically everyone.


DNV GL Survey: Majority of Facility Managers View Energy Efficiency as Proven Operating and Investment Strategy

  • DNV GL survey covers 500 commercial facility managers across the US to analyze patterns of energy management and efficiency investments
  • Facilities that set energy goals are twice as likely to make capital improvements that reduce energy use as those that do not
  • Facility managers in states with strong energy efficiency programs were more likely to install energy efficient lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment


DNV GL today released findings from a comprehensive survey of nearly 500 commercial facility managers across the United States to analyze the current patterns of energy management and efficiency investments in large- and mid-sized commercial facilities. The potential for cost-effective savings for commercial customers is a 20-30 percent reduction of current use levels, but utility energy efficiency programs are finding it difficult to achieve their stated energy savings goals. DNV GL undertook the Commercial Facility Pulse Survey to characterize the attitudes of commercial facility managers toward energy efficiency and to use these insights to identify strategies to increase program participation in that segment.

The survey probed the facility owners’ and managers’ attitudes about energy efficiency and the activities they participate in to increase energy efficiency in their facility and characterized three areas of business operations related to energy use: policies and resources, practices and investment, and the perception of the benefits of energy efficiency. DNV GL’s findings on customer practices highlight the importance of three strategies to motivate commercial customers to implement energy efficient technologies and behaviors:

  1.   An activated trade ally network that works closely with utility energy efficiency programs.
  2. Targeted outreach to commercial facilities that promotes the general business benefits of energy efficiency.
  3. Individual facilities can capture more energy savings through improved operations and maintenance practices and investments in lighting and HVAC technologies.

DNV GL’s Commercial Pulse survey was conducted in Q4 2015 with facility managers of 497 commercial and industrial (C&I) facilities nationwide. The sample for this online survey was restricted to facilities with 50 or more employees, which represents 60 percent of all C&I employment. The results were weighted to reflect the population of C&I facilities by size, region, building type, and participation in utility energy efficiency programs.

Energy Efficiency as a proven investment strategy

DNV GL found that a majority (53 percent) of managers and business leaders in mid-to large-sized commercial facilities view energy efficiency as a proven operating and investment strategy. Eighty-four percent of the respondents who reported having taken steps to save energy reported at least one positive business benefit, such as lower operating costs or higher worker productivity. One respondent, who is a supervisor in the facility management department of an office in Florida, said “We have faced a series of budget cuts over the past few years, and reducing our energy costs has been one important and strategic component of staying within our budget guidelines.”

Direction and commitment from the top drive energy savings

The survey revealed that executive leadership is a key driver to both setting policy and achieving energy management goals within commercial facilities. This was true independent of facility type and size; energy management practices and efficient technologies were more likely to be adopted in facilities where the decision to adopt these practices were made at the executive level. DNV GL found that 65percent of mid-sized and large commercial and industrial (C&I) facilities set energy management goals, and 50 percent assign personnel to achieve them. However, larger facilities were more likely to have set energy management goals than small or mid-sized facilities. That said, even management at smaller facilities are committed to reducing energy use; an assistant manager in a retail facility in Massachusetts reported that “We strongly believe that energy is just going to become a bigger and bigger expense, and finding new ways to cut costs in that area are key to future success.”

Policy support and strong energy efficiency programs are crucial for energy efficiency investment

Another finding of the study was directly related to the impact of strong energy efficiency programs. In those states where utilities are required to run energy efficiency programs, facilities were 12 percent more likely to install LED lighting and 21 percent more likely to install high-efficiency HVAC. The study found that strong energy efficiency programs are helping to accelerate the adoption of energy efficiency practices and technologies by guiding customers to emerging technologies, supporting vendors in developing products and sales efforts, and reducing the risks of large investments by providing incentives.

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