office building

Energy Efficiency Market Face Financing, Big Data Challenges in 2014

office buildingThe efficiency industry, driven largely in 2013 by intelligent innovations such as energy management software and virtual audits, will face financing, big data, education and accountability hurdles this year, according to a survey of executives by GTM Research.

A range of efficiency executives speaking to GTM Research said better IT deployment, educating customers, creating better financing options and adjusting utility incentives will be critical to properly scale the efficiency market in 2014.

Executives, including those from Johnson Controls, Vigilent and Retroficiency, pinpointed a number of trends to watch for in 2014 including continued momentum for PACE financing, better use of data, new approaches to equipment integration and operational savings versus equipment retrofits.

For example, Chuck McKinney of Aircuity told GTM Research that he sees airside energy efficiency, which will involve several strategies including natural ventilation and demand control ventilation, as the next big trend. Groom Energy’s Paul Baier noted lighting controls and increased adoption of enterprise energy management software were examples of new approaches to equipment integration to watch for in 2014.

In 2013, the energy efficiency market was buoyed by greater acceptance by large commercial customers, according to executives at Johnson Controls and Groom Energy. Executives from Aircuity and FirstFuel noted that better data and reporting helped the market, while Conservation Service Group CEO Stephen Cowell said technology and market convergence were responsible for growth.

The sustainable energy sector is forecast to expand in 2014 with job growth in the energy efficiency industry as well as the broader renewable energy umbrella, according to a report released in December by Ecotech Institute.

The Ecotech Institute Clean Jobs Index’s  data reveals a bright outlook in 2014 for cleantech leaders, educators, political leaders, students and job seekers. Energy efficiency jobs numbered about 6,600 posted on the index, and facility management had 6,470.

Office building image from Flickr user Jess Wood

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