Honeywell study reveals increase in sustainability initiatives in buildings

Manish Sharma, Vice President and General Manager of Sustainable Buildings at Honeywell

Greater energy efficiency, better indoor air quality (IAQ) and meeting environmental, social and governance (ESG) guidelines are three objectives currently prioritized by multinational organizations as they face pressure to incorporate building operations into their sustainability plans. These are among key findings of a report released recently by Honeywell and Reuters.

Nearly nine in ten respondents (87%) say that achieving carbon neutrality in their building portfolio is either extremely (58%) or somewhat (29%) important in relation to their overall ESG goals. Only 4% of the surveyed respondents are calling it unimportant or negligible. The sense of urgency is understandable: Commercial building operations currently account for 37% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. It is increasingly important to achieve carbon neutrality.

What are the benefits and barriers noted by respondents?

The survey also revealed that companies are investing strategically to accelerate decarbonization and improve overall building performance. While respondents note a wide range of specific efforts, a substantial majority(80%) mention an on-site energy management system as one investment they’ve made to enhance building operations sustainability.

The Honeywell Building Sustainability Manager powered by Honeywell Forge, is a suite of ready now innovative solutions that help building owners and operators meet two pressing, yet often conflicting, objectives – optimizing a commercial building’s IAQ while still reducing its environmental impact – with the aim of helping them to meet building carbon neutral goals.

Benefits of ramping up sustainability

Respondents noted business benefits of ramping up sustainability efforts across building portfolios. When asked which three benefits they valued most, they cited the following:

  • Complying with external regulations and investor demands: 90%; with more than 50% of those surveyed ranking it number one
  • Increasing productivity and realizing cost reductions: 84%
  • Improving brand image: 60%

Barriers to the sustainability efforts

Despite their optimism, those surveyed noted many significant barriers impeding their efforts. When asked which three obstacles hinder progress, the respondents reported the following:

  • Managing costs: 88%
  • Measuring sustainability or a lack of expertise: 60%
  • Gaining senior leadership support: 50%

What were the executive remarks in regards to the study?

Manish Sharma, Vice President and General Manager of Sustainable Buildings at Honeywell, echoed this sentiment based on ongoing conversations with current and prospective customers. “If we fast-forward to 2025, carbon neutrality goals will be at the top priorities for organizations, driven partly by carbon taxation plans and decarbonizing incentives,”

While the surveyed organizations are feeling more pressure to act, the respondents seem generally optimistic about forecasting progress towards their goals for sustainability. More than 90% of those surveyed expect to achieve carbon neutrality across their portfolios by 2050, while 62% of them expect to reach that goal by 2035. Notably, only 8% of these respondents say they don’t foresee carbon neutrality becoming a concrete reality for their portfolios.

“Incorporating the way buildings operate into sustainability plans is an ongoing process with no fixed endpoint,” said Liam Dowd, Industry Lead – Sustainable Business, Reuters Professional. “While the organizations surveyed differ in how far they have progressed towards developing strategies and solutions to support this process, the first step is to benchmark the carbon output of buildings and define the current state of the commercial building portfolio.”

The importance of improving commercial building operations reinforces the emphasis organizations are placing on sustainability as detailed in the recently launched Honeywell Environmental Sustainability Index, a quarterly global survey that captures the key trends in corporate sustainability initiatives and other various efforts to mitigate climate change.

Sixty-five percent of organizations surveyed in the Honeywell Environmental Sustainability index are reported to be prioritizing sustainability above other initiatives and 48% of surveyed organizations likely to increase sustainability budgets up to 20% in the next 12 months.


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