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Advanced energy-efficiency investments on the rise; top strategies include…

The vast majority of those surveyed will embark on energy-efficient upgrades in 2023.

Retailers and other building operators are moving up to a higher level of energy efficiency.

With energy costs on the rise, commercial building operators are more open to advanced strategies for energy-saving and sustainability initiatives, according to a survey by building energy management tech company GridPoint (retail, financial and restaurants made up 40%, 17% and 10% of respondents respectively).

The top strategies respondents plan to implement in 2023 include: carbon accounting reporting (40%); demand response/demand management (39%), EV charging (39%), utility energy efficiency programs (39%), submetering (38%) and renewable energy sources (38%). The survey found that only 30% of respondents have submetering in place and 33% currently leverage carbon accounting reporting.

The vast majority of those surveyed will embark on energy-efficient upgrades in 2023 — 90% of participants said they planned to increase energy efficiency improvements.

To date, the majority surveyed already have implemented lower-cost and easier-to-implement energy saving strategies, such efficient lighting (70%) or smart thermostats (59%)

While energy efficiency efforts were rated as highly important to respondents regardless of role (89%), when pinpointing respondents working in facilities management, a resounding 98% of respondents rated energy efficiency as being extremely or very important to their role and responsibilities within their organization.

Other findings from GridPoint’s “The Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Survey” are below.

• Rising energy costs are a top-of-mind issue across the board with 99% of respondents expressing at least some level of concern for rising electricity bills. In terms of realized energy cost increases, 79% of respondents experienced energy cost increases in the last 12 to 24 months with 27% categorizing the increases as “significant.”

•A staggering 92% of respondents expressed concern about the negative impact climate change could have on their organization’s operations. Nearly a quarter of respondents were extremely concerned (24%) and 35% said they were very concerned.

• Grid reliability is another top issue for the professionals surveyed as 94% expressed at least some level of concern over grid reliability, with 62% stating they have significant concerns. Power disruptions and widespread blackouts pose a serious risk to companies that need to power physical locations and ensure guest safety and comfort, like retailers or restaurants, in order to generate revenue.

“The survey results validate the interesting intersection we are seeing in terms of rising energy cost inflation as a result of the energy transition, macroeconomic factors accelerating the adoption of technology that reduces energy costs and pressure from customers and shareholders on businesses to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Mark Danzenbaker, CEO of GridPoint. “These pain points are materializing into an incredibly positive outcome – the motivation among commercial businesses to make significant advances in sustainability is at an all-time high.”

Commissioned by GridPoint, The Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Survey was conducted by Qualtrics, between Nov. 2022 and Jan. 2023. More than 800 respondents in the U.S. and Canada, employed in a managerial role and involved in their organization’s energy, sustainability or facility management decision-making, participated in the survey. Of those surveyed, 64% of respondents operate buildings under 50,000 sq. ft. while 32% manage buildings larger than 50,000  sq. ft.

Additionally, 53% of participants manage, on average, a portfolio of more than 50 buildings/sites, and 47% operate less than 50 buildings/sites. The majority of respondents work in the retail (40%), financial services (17%), healthcare (14%), and restaurant/food service (10%) industries.

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