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July 4, 2012: Study Says U.S. Buildings Have Long Way to Go on Path to Sustainability

July 4, 2012
BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. — Siemens Building Technologies Division announced the availability of a new study “A Path to Achieving Higher Building Performance,” that says the vast majority of public and private commercial buildings in the United States have a long way to go on the path to sustainable and energy-efficient operations. The study explores trends in specific operational improvements, ongoing operational services, and renovations at organizations in the office, health care, and higher education sectors.

“We recognize that greater adoption of energy efficiency and sustainability practices within buildings is critical to address our nation’s challenges in the areas of infrastructure, climate change, and continued economic vibrancy,” said Brad Haeberle, senior director and head of Building Automation Service for Siemens Building Technologies Division. “Fortunately, our research finds that despite continued economic uncertainty, our nation’s business and industry leaders are rising to the challenge and making high-performing buildings a reality.”

The study focused on improvements and services conducted or initiated in the past three years and those planned for the next three years. Interviews were conducted with 150 building portfolio owners, including 50 interviews in each of the three sectors.

Additional areas of exploration included the stages building owners go through to improve building performance, the stages at which a particular improvement or service is initiated, drivers and obstacles of engaging in improvement efforts, and metrics for measuring the effectiveness of improvements. The stages range from buildings with little to no improvements (stage 1) to buildings that had been transformed to high performance through significant investment (stage 4).

The study indicates that office, health care, and higher education buildings in the U.S. span these categories, with the bulk (nearly two-thirds) grouped in the middle two stages. In addition to placing their buildings along this spectrum, owners also shared the kinds of activities, drivers, and plans they have for those different buildings. Some key results:

• Owners report significant business benefits from their investments in high performance building improvements, including ROI increases of 13 percent for office buildings, 18 percent for health care facilities, and 15 percent for higher education buildings.

• Despite the economy, owners are investing in their buildings, and they plan to continue to do so. In particular, owners are increasing investment in operational activities that do not require significant up-front expense in order to yield benefits. For example, owners report one-year operating cost savings of 8-11 percent from their efforts.

• It is not just about energy and operating cost savings. Owners are investing in their buildings for a variety of reasons. In particular, health care and higher education owners are influenced by higher satisfaction and the well-being of building occupants.

To obtain a copy of the study, click here.

For more information on Siemens Building Technologies Division, visit www.usa.siemens.com/buildingtechnologies.

Publication date: 7/2/2012

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