2010, China built more housing than Spain houses. This factoid underlines the importance of energy efficiency for buildings in a report published this week by a subsidiary of the prestigious publication of the Economist.
The report emerged from a survey of real estate and construction managers in the European Union, India, China, and the United States on behalf of global building performance network,.
It offered promising news: the right policy signals could unleash an international boom in the area of energy efficiency.
What motivates these professionals? It is not surprising, it is the potential that they see, to reduce costs. You "are ready to go deep and waiting for the right policy signals that can scale in terms of energy efficiency," GBPN said in the report.
Although there are barriers, business leaders in construction and real estate already pursue a series of measures to increase efficiency. The survey found that:
Energy consumption is important for most businesses and key factor for investment decisions to 63 percent of the respondents. Describe companies that particularly highly rated themselves as "financially successful" with energy.Achieved highly under actions companies take lighting retrofits. About 57 percent are lighting, HVAC systems by 50% and 50% building insulation replace.Forty percent are building layout natural light use Neukonfiguration.Energieeffizienz is a risk management tool for 69 percent, a sign that they have a sophisticated understanding of energy.
Not all of the news was good, however. Companies are deliberately not the actual cost of their energy consumption. Energy audits gave less than a third of their building in order. Two-thirds of the respondents overestimated the cost of energy-efficient and sustainable construction further.
A surprising 75 percent saw use energy regulation and described lack of enforcement as a problem. The solution? Not too much carrot and not too much stick closed the survey report.
"While the survey shows that most companies of prefer carrots, must at some point Governments also stick to swing", according to the report. "The right balance between incentives and constraints is not easy." Excessive bureaucracy and mixed messages are expensive and slow the introduction of more efficient technologies for businesses. "The market needs clear, long-term signals, rational expectations and opportunities for a reasonable return on investment."
The Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 423 managers from the real estate and construction industries, in the summer of 2012. About 27 percent of the respondents came from the United States, 24 percent from the European Union, 25 percent from China and 24 percent from India. All respondents worked in operations, strategy or finance. More than half were C-level executives or above and that nearly half of companies with more than 500 million $ global annual turnover. The full report, "energy efficiency and energy savings: A view from the building industry," is available here for download available.
ELISA Wood is a long-time energy writer.
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