Asian Enterprises Gain Interest in Buildings’ Energy Efficiency

Siemens-Masdar-City

A study done by Johnson Controls called Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) in 2013 revealed a 10 percent increase of interest in energy efficiency since 2010 in the Asia region.  43% of executives in Asia admitted the extreme importance of energy management extremely important, of which the number is just over the global average. Voluntary green building certification is also continuing to expand in Asia – 31% of the surveyed organizations intend to achieve green certification for their new facilities, while on the other side, 33% of the respondents aim to retrofit their existing buildings to obtain green building certification.

Energy efficiency drivers in Asia

According to the study, the top energy efficiency driver in India, China, and Singapore is energy cost savings. Government and utility incentives/rebates follows as the second driver in Singapore, whilst energy security is deemed as important in India and China.

On an exclusive interview with AsiaGreenBuildings.com, Rob Moult, the Vice President of Marketing and Solutions of Asia at Johnson Controls, stated that energy efficiency offers one of the cheapest and fastest ways to close the gap between energy demand and supply. In countries like India and China, the power availability is a concern for buildings as many of them have to run on diesel generator sets until they get the grid connections from utilities; and power cost of diesel generator sets is almost double that of the grid.

Adopting energy efficient practices provides companies with a more flexible short-term strategy that allows them to control energy consumption, reduce operational expenditure and minimize external risks. Technological advancement with increasingly energy efficient building systems makes this option even more attractive.

Barriers of energy efficiency decisions

India sees the lack of technical expertise in the building management as the top barrier to pursuing energy efficiency. This may translate to dubious decision of technical options, technology choices, and ways of equipment selection by the decision makers of the company. This may mean that determining investment in energy efficient equipment or services is slowed or stalled due to inadequate expertise or resources to evaluate the options, resulting in a dependency on original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for equipment services and system level advice.

Meanwhile in China, barriers to efficiency are shifting due to the increase of market awareness and technical capacity grows, resulting in financial criteria emerging as a top challenge.

However, the Chinese government has made energy efficiency a priority.  Their 12th Five Year Plan has a number of items focusing on improving the efficiency of technology in the industrial and commercial sectors.  Rob asserted that incentives for efficient Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) equipment, lighting technologies and others are supported by the national, provincial and city governments which aim to make efficient technologies more economically attractive.  The Chinese government policy also includes support for energy performance contracting using ESCO companies in a “shared savings” approach where the technology is installed and payment is made through energy savings.

Adopted technologies in Asia’s energy efficient buildings

The study shows that lighting and HVAC are the top two technology improvements prioritized by the organizations in Asia pursuing energy efficiency.

68% of surveyed organizations adopted lighting improvement as their energy efficiency measure. This may be due to the fact that lighting tends to pay for itself in a short 1-4 year period, depending on the technology, and lighting is relatively easy and fast to replace, as remarked by Rob.

On the other hand, HVAC and/or controls improvements are opted by 64% of the respondents. Representing the largest energy load in most institutional facilities and buildings, these technologies would typically be among the first for organizations and building owners to address when they are looking into retrofitting their buildings with more energy efficient technology.

Meanwhile, the building envelope improvements such as insulation in walls, window replacements etc are the least adopted technology in Asia, adopted by only 27% of the respondents. Rob stated that this is mainly due to its potentially longer payback times and the consideration that it may be more disruptive to tenants or occupants.

“However, using a combination of short payback as well as long payback technologies and tactics may help to produce the best efficiency results and outcome for occupant comfort,” he added. (AGB.com – SA)

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