Study: Growing Focus on Energy Efficiency in 2011

Green Building

Study: Growing Focus on Energy Efficiency in 2011

According to a new white paper published by Pike Research, energy efficiency will become a growing focus in the building design and construction industry in 2011.

Despite a global recession that has correlated into a lack of new construction projects, energy efficient retrofits continued to grow this past year and a multitude of factors will continue to influence the direction of building efficiency efforts domestically and internationally.

Amidst a complex mix of contributing factors, Pike Research cataloged the various influences into ten basic building efficiency trends:

1. Energy codes will keep raising the bar and enforcement is catching up.

Nationally, more than 40 states have adopted a model energy building code. Meanwhile, updated energy codes are becoming more stringent.

2. Mandatory disclosure rules will incentivize building owners to invest in energy efficiency.

Commercial benchmarking laws, which require building owners to disclose information regarding the energy consumption of properties they are planning to sell or rent, are becoming more commonplace in Europe and Australia. Domestically, California now has a form of mandatory disclosure legislation and it is expected that commercial benchmarking laws will spread throughout the U.S.

3. The pace of building certification will increase, led by LEED.

Pike Research predicts that green building certification will continue to rise over the next 10 years. Commercial building retrofits are expected to garner the highest percentage of the market on the basis of developed unit area. Local and regional certification systems will gain in popularity. Howver, the LEED rating system will continue to dominate.

4. Building energy management systems are in high demand.

Computer-based control and monitoring systems will continue to develop in terms of sophistication. Demand response revenue will drive interest in such systems as implementation will involve lower capital expenditures than implementing other building efficiency measures.

5. The U.S. ESCO market will see moderate growth and ESCOs in Asia Pacific’s developing markets will advance rapidly.

The study predicts a rise in the Energy Services Company (ESCO) market in the U.S., but forecasts the most rapid growth to occur in a number of Asia Pacific countries such as Japan, Australia, and China.

6. Lighting: Not yet “The Year of the LED”.

Cost barriers and uncertainties associated with LED installations present two of the most significant barriers between the LED industry and mass-market uptake.

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

While yet immature, the smart grid industry is very dynamic. Potential connections between the smart grid and efficient buildings are forecasted to develop as interoperability between systems become better addressed through standardized protocols and interfaces.

8. Increasing number of financing options around the world.

Financial barriers are among the most frequently mentioned hurdles to investment in building efficiency systems. Government grants, government-backed loans, tax incentives, performance contracting, utility rebates, revolving loan funds, on-bill financing, and energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs) are just a few of the emerging financing options becoming available to property/building owners.

9. PACE is a financing option struggling to overcome a roadblock of its own.

The proceeds of a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) bond are provided to property owners to finance energy efficiency retrofits. Owners repay the retrofits over 20 years through an annual assessment on their property tax bill. Despite concerns raised by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) regarding residential properties, PACE legislation for commercial properties will continue to be adopted by numerous states.

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

To read the entire report, please visit Pike Research’s website at www.pikeresearch.com

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