In a survey of 369 business and government energy leaders attending Schneider Electric’s Xperience Efficiency events in Washington, D.C., and Dallas in June, 43 percent said their investment in energy efficiency will increase next year, while 22 percent said their investment would stay the same, and 10 percent said their investment would be less.

“Energy efficiency is the first and best fuel source we have to meet our nation’s growing energy demands and use our energy more effectively,” Chris Curtis, president and chief executive officer, North America operations, Schneider Electric, said. “It’s good for job creation and the environment and allows companies to cut costs along with their consumption. With the majority of respondents reporting energy-efficiency investments to be the same or more than last year, it’s clear that the benefits of energy efficiency are speaking for themselves.”

Sixty-four percent of respondents reported energy-cost savings as the biggest driver of energy-management investment decisions, followed by government incentives (10 percent), government policies and industry standards (8 percent), executive mandate (6 percent), and brand image (5 percent).

The majority of respondents (63 percent) reported they had invested in energy-efficiency programs during the previous 12 months, the most common programs being data tracking and analysis (29 percent) and energy audits (29 percent).

Respondents predicted building automation (24 percent), efficient lighting (21 percent), and data-center efficiency (16 percent) will be the most popular energy-management approaches in five years.

Additionally:

• Forty-one percent of respondents cited tax credits or incentives as the energy policy that has had the greatest impact on improving energy efficiency in their organization.

• Sixty percent of respondents said they have someone in their organization responsible for energy management.

“While these results show good progress, we have a significant opportunity to do more,” Curtis said. “The U.S. currently ranks ninth in energy efficiency among the largest global economies, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. This is unacceptable. We have many opportunities right now—practical, tangible actions any business, government, or homeowner can take—to improve efficiency with a quick return on investment and immediate results.”

A free event, Xperience Efficiency 2013 brought together customers, partners, and governments to discuss solutions to energy and sustainability challenges.