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Healthy buildings are priority for building owners

IRELAND: An independent independent survey of over 800 building decision makers in the US and Canada is said to have shown a clear shift to increased investment in healthy buildings.

The survey, initiated by Johnson Controls, also revealed that despite lower occupancy during the coronavirus pandemic, few customers were able to reduce building operating, highlighting the need for technologies to deliver flexibility.

The surveys confirmed the need is greater than ever, with 90% 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 and digital officer at Johnson Controls.

“Energy use should be dramatically lower when occupancy is low, but surprisingly less than one in ten building operators were able to reduce energy use more than 20%,” 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.”

The studies show an increase in investments by organisations toward wellness, clean air and peace of mind. 80% of respondents stated that protecting the health and safety of building occupants during the COVID pandemic and afterward is very or extremely important.

Energy cost savings are shown to be important with 76% of facility executives stating that energy cost savings are a top driver for investment.

Buildings are responsible for about 40% of the planet’s total energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy use. While  the studies revealed that 57% of organisations plan to achieve net zero carbon or positive energy status in at least one facility in the next ten years, only 1% of buildings currently undergo energy efficient renovation every year.  

Johnson Controls claims to have implemented more than 3,000 energy-savings performance contracting projects in North America alone. The result has been reductions of more than 29 million tonnes of carbon emissions from customer facilities and savings of $6bn in energy and operating costs.

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