Breaking Down Deloitte's 2017 Smart Energy Study

September 20, 2017 Samantha Foley

2017 Smart Energy Study Shows Vested Interest in Renewable Sources of Energy and Energy Management Systems.

The results of the seventh annual Deloitte Smart Energy Study are out, and the findings reflect the growing level of attention Americans place on energy efficiency. But, these findings are not limited to commercial use of energy-efficiency standards and equipment. In fact, both residential and commercial applications of smart devices were analyzed in this smart energy study, and facilities managers need to know both sides of the study to understand what it means for the future of energy management in their businesses.

Climate Change Concerns Remain Prominent

One of the most interesting facets to the smart energy study involves consumer views on energy management, with the majority of consumers, especially Generation Xers and millennials, taking greater measures to prevent climate change and improve personal carbon footprint levels. Specifically, 75 percent of millennial’s and 69 percent of Gen Xers have true concerns related to climate change, and 63 percent of all age groups are looking toward smart energy solutions to reduce their environmental impact.

Renewables Are Growing More Important

Given the popularity of environmental and climate change concerns, it is not surprising to learn interest in renewable energy resources are growing more important. In addition, residential use and interest and solar power rose 4 percent among residents, putting solar power within top three most important ways they can reduce their carbon footprint. Moreover, up to 60 percent of all respondents showed interest in getting electricity from another source of energy, if it were available.

Credits, Rebates and Energy Monitoring Drive Energy Conservation

Among both residential and commercial strategies to drive energy conservation, the use of tax credits, rebates and better energy monitoring systems rose above all other options. In addition, 55 percent of residents cited the benefits of tax credits for actively reducing use of electricity resources, and similar terms were seen among business owners as well.

More People Are Willing to Spend Money to Develop Sources of Renewable Energy

The younger generations also appear more willing to spend additional money to develop resources for renewable energy, including paying a 4-to-8-percent premium on electricity costs. Meanwhile, smart building technology, like smart thermostats and app-based tools, appeals to younger generations, alluding to a growing interest in the use of smart energy solutions. The decreasing costs of implementing energy efficiency solutions will also drive adoption rates higher.

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Use of Social Media to Manage Energy Increasing

Unlike residents looking for ways to actively save money, businesses are turning to smart energy solutions to gain value within their companies. However, value does not necessarily mean decreasing energy costs. In combination with greater use of social media by younger generations, companies have taken the initiative to implement clean, smart energy solutions to bolster public image. Of course, the prospect of strong, consistent financial returns from energy management programs continues to drive adoption of energy management systems among businesses. In fact, businesses’ public perception was cited as the number one motivation behind companies’ decisions to launch energy management programs.

Cybersecurity Risk Is Top Priority

Among both residential and commercial applications of energy management systems, the smart energy study also found strong demand for better cybersecurity within energy efficiency solutions. Specifically, 15 percent of those interested in smart solutions cited existing cyber security risks as the primary barrier to adoption. However, up to 65 percent of respondents indicated fears and worry over existing use of smart energy solutions.

Energy Management Is Key to Competitiveness in Business

With greater scrutiny by watchdog groups and the public, businesses are also using energy management solutions to drive competitiveness. Since energy management results in cost savings to overhead expenses, the savings can be passed along to lower price points for products and services. In addition, all business respondents cited strategic challenges, staffing and internal bureaucracy as the key barriers to implementing energy management systems. In other words, problems within the business itself are hindering adoption among some companies.

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Shifting to Reducing Risk, Improving Resilience and Creating New Value

Energy management systems also have the potential to reduce risk, improve resilience and create new value for companies, such as decreasing the risk of fire or security threats, with 81 percent citing these top benefits of energy management systems as rationale for implementation.

The Smart Energy Study Shows Energy Management and Smart Building Solutions Are Here to Stay

Up to 60 percent of businesses have some form of on-site electricity generation, and 40 percent of all businesses are already using energy management systems to gain greater savings. 55 percent of businesses also described their existing energy management systems and strategy as “very successful”.

The use of metrics and key performance indicators to monitor company performance against both internal and external benchmarks also increased 4 percent, up from 29 percent in 2016. Communicatively, the smart energy study of more than 2000 online interviews with decision-makers for both utility services and residences show growing interest in energy management, and no evidence suggests the trend will regress. As a facility manager, you owe it to your company and consumers to implement strong energy management solutions today.

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