Businesses are Ready to Go Deep, says The Economist Intelligence Unit in a Report commissioned by the GBPN

An EIU global survey of over 400 building sector executives commissioned by the GBPN finds categorically that accelerating the implementation of energy efficiency measures in buildings is feasible.

The GBPN has just released a report entitled Energy efficiency and energy savings: a view from the building sector commissioned to The Economist Intelligence Unit. The survey explores how real estate and construction executives in the European Union, India, China and the USA approach energy efficiency regulation in their business.

According to more than seven in ten executives surveyed by the EIU (75%), current energy efficiency legislation benefits the building sector. More than a third of respondents (34%) say a lack of enforcement of existing regulations is a leading obstacle to investments in efficiency.

This positive view of legislation presents significant opportunities for decision makers to develop policy tools to advance energy efficiency measures that can increase building energy efficiency and performance. This attitude is strengthened by a favourable trend highlighted throughout the report whereby businesses, motivated by the potential for cost cutting, are ready to go deep and are waiting for the right policy signals that can scale up energy efficiency in the sector.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The survey shows that there is a large consensus among executives worldwide on the issue of climate change. In Europe, China and India, 84% of respondents consider cutting carbon missions associated with their business to be their responsibilities. In the US, however, barely 60% of respondents are of that opinion.
  • Many companies are ill-informed about energy realities and the true cost of energy consumption. One third of the respondents underestimate the financial significance of energy consumption in their own business. Many are also unclear about the cost of constructing highly energy efficient buildings. While the actual additional cost varies between 5 to 15%, two thirds of respondents overestimate the cost saying that energy efficient buildings cost 15% more than a standard construction.
  • There is clear evidence in the report that the message that energy efficiency is good for business is gaining momentum across the building sector. 63% of the respondents say that energy efficiency influences their investment decisions; and this is true across all regions. Half of respondents are taking a longer-term view of investments. More than 50% of respondents are ready to tolerate payback terms of 5 years or longer.
  • Companies are already taking action and going beyond equipment upgrades. Half of respondents are adding building insulation, almost the same proportion is adopting more efficient HVAC systems and replacing inefficient lighting (57%).
  • Businesses welcome carrots and sticks. They see legislation as a mean of levelling the playing field, thus strengthening the business case for energy investments. 68% of respondents estimate that carbon taxes are helpful to drive investments in efficient buildings. And the same proportion believes that global agreements limiting carbon emissions would create a level playing field for businesses.
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