Despite a global recession, investment levels in energy efficiency have remained strong, according to the Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) released by Johnson Controls.

The survey of more than 2,800 executives and managers responsible for making investments and managing energy in commercial buildings worldwide found that 56 percent of respondents say they have invested the same or more in energy efficiency over the last 12 months. A regional comparison indicates that respondents have invested the same or more in energy efficiency in China (60 percent), followed by the United States (59 percent), Europe (55 percent), and India (45 percent).

Across all regions surveyed, energy management is considered an important priority among commercial decision-makers (92 percent). Notably, respondents from India (85 percent) and China (80 percent) were more likely to consider energy management very or extremely important compared with those in Europe (55 percent) and North America (53 percent).

The EEI tracks energy-management priorities, practices, and investment plans among decision-makers responsible for managing commercial buildings and their energy use. Johnson Controls has conducted the EEI survey in North America for the last four years. This year marks the first time a global survey has been conducted across Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

While motivations differ from region to region, cost savings is consistently the most important factor driving investments with 97 percent of respondents identifying it as significant. Eighty-eight percent of respondents believe energy prices will rise in China, compared with 79 percent in India, 68 percent in Europe, and 64 percent in North America.

After cost savings, lowering greenhouse-gas emissions (74 percent) is the second most important motivator for energy efficiency in all regions except North America, where boosting public image (63 percent) and taking advantage of government/utility incentives (62 percent) rank higher in importance.

Globally, 63 percent of respondents plan to make capital investments in energy efficiency and 70 percent plan on operating budget expenditures in efficiency programs over the next 12 months. Eighty-five percent plan to make efficiency a priority in their new construction and retrofit projects.

A total of 2,882 decision-makers were surveyed worldwide during March and April 2010, including chief executive officers, chief financial officers, real-estate leaders, and facility managers from a range of organizations, including small businesses, global corporations and the public sector. The survey is managed by the Johnson Controls Institute for Building Efficiency, a new initiative of Johnson Controls, providing information and analysis of technologies, policies, and practices for efficient, high-performance buildings and smart energy systems around the world. For more information, visit www.johnsoncontrols.com/InstituteBE.