Independent surveys of more than 800 building decision makers show a clear shift to increased investment in healthy building trends and technologies, finds Johnson Controls. The surveys confirmed the need for healthy buildings is greater than ever, with 90 percent of responding firms having dedicated resources to healthy buildings initiatives.
“Building owners are struggling to balance urgent and conflicting priorities between employee health and wellness with critically needed cost savings, increased revenue, and sustainability targets,” said Michael Ellis, executive vice president and chief customer & digital officer at Johnson Controls. “Johnson Controls is best positioned to help businesses meet those sustainability commitments while delivering on our customers’ return on investment.”
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic showed that few customers were able to reduce building operating costs despite lower occupancy, highlighting the need for technologies to deliver flexibility.
“Energy use should be dramatically lower when occupancy is low, but surprisingly less than one in 10 building operators were able to reduce energy use more than 20 percent,” Ellis said. “At a time when companies are aggressively pursuing energy and cost savings, customers need and want solutions that help them do better, while increasing the health profile of those buildings. Johnson Controls OpenBlue technologies deliver a unique, game-changing capability to solve for healthy places, while simultaneously serving sustainability goals.”
The survey of facilities operators showed a range of specific investment priorities to meet goals for Healthy People, Healthy Places and a Healthy Planet:
Businesses are increasingly committed to employee health and wellness as a driver of high performing teams. The studies show an increase in investments by organizations toward wellness, clean air, and peace of mind. 80 percent of respondents stated that protecting the health and safety of building occupants during the COVID pandemic and afterward is very or extremely important.
New factors are being included in this mix such as temperature control, disinfection, ventilation, and air filtration which all require well maintained systems and equipment, enhanced through intelligent sensors and control software. The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the potential benefit of these technologies and for contactless access and contact tracing. These capabilities can help increase overall building security through enhanced tracking of building guest and occupant access, flow and location, while maintaining trust.
Finding cost savings and making fast and informed decisions, supported by data, is a critical part of facility operations. In the Johnson Controls independent studies, 80 percent of facility executives stated that increasing flexibility to quickly respond to emergencies is a top driver for investment in technologies such as flexible facility monitoring and healthy air strategies.
The spaces in which people work, shop, entertain, and live become more inviting, more efficient and less expensive to operate over time. Space optimization, capital planning, and increasing the uptime and lifetime of assets all support operational performance and lead to cost savings and increased revenue opportunities for building operators.
Improvements in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and smart building technology are becoming more critical each year. In the studies, 76 percent of facility executives stated that energy cost savings are a top driver for investment. These investments also influence corporate sustainability rankings, an important metric for attracting and retaining investors, employees and customers.
Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of the planet’s total energy consumption and 36 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. But only 1 percent of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year. Effective action is crucial in aligning to increased regulation, decreasing energy consumption and increasing sustainability. For the health of the planet, the studies revealed that 57 percent of organizations plan to achieve net zero carbon or positive energy status in at least one facility in the next ten years.
Through ongoing efforts to create more healthy buildings, Johnson Controls has implemented more than 3,000 energy-savings performance contracting projects in North America alone. The result has been reductions of more than 29 million metric tons of carbon emissions from customer facilities and savings of $6B in energy and operating costs driven by a comprehensive suite of product and technology solutions. In fiscal year 2019 almost half of Johnson Controls revenue came from products and services that reduce energy use and improve sustainability.
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