According to a survey commissioned by Schneider Electric and the Alliance to Save Energy, almost 9 out of 10 US higher education respondents expect to increase or maintain energy efficiency investments next year. Eighty-eight percent of respondents also agree that energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to meet their energy needs while at the same cutting costs.
The survey was conducted by Redshift Research in June 2015 among 150 US facilities leaders in higher educational establishments. Respondents have responsibility related to purchasing energy as well as facility management and operations management.
The survey found the biggest factors driving schools’ energy efficiency efforts are i) cost savings; ii) environmental benefits and iii) industry standards.
However, obstacles exist to achieving these objectives. While 92 percent of respondents stated that their school had a culture that encourages energy efficiency practices, organizational barriers are challenging their ability to achieve efficiency goals. Fifty-nine percent view this as the biggest obstacle, with insufficient funding and lack of a clear definition of success also ranking highly.
Another factor impacting institutions is aging infrastructure, with 59 percent indicating that the average age of their buildings exceeds 15 years, and only one in five reporting that the average age of their building is below 10 years. As facility leaders look to upgrade existing buildings, compatibility with new technology ranks as most important when considering making an investment. Compatibility with legacy systems outranked quality of the product and technology advancements of the solution.