Cutting costs is the biggest incentive behind managing energy for buildings owners and operators, according to the 2012 Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator survey. Energy management in turn helps drive operational efficiency in buildings, according to the owners and operators.

According to the World Resources Institute, 40 percent of energy is consumed globally by buildings. Building practices that produce zero-energy commercial buildings are on the rise, helping to reduce the high amount of energy consumed by buildings. While financial incentives are driving this shift to more-efficient construction, building owners also say increasing the buildings value and sending out a more positive public image are also incentives.

Of nearly 3,500 survey respondents worldwide, 85 percent of respondents indicating that energy management is very important to them. Less invasive improvements such as lighting, HVAC, and water efficiency were more commonly implemented in the last 12 months than large-scale improvements such as retro-commissioning and smart building technology. A lack of funding was the biggest barrier to pursuing energy efficient measures. Still, 44 percent of respondents said they are planning to get their existing building green building certified.

"Nearly 75 percent of commercial buildings in the United States are more than 20 years old and are ready for energy improvements. Building owners and operators are looking to lawmakers to bring down the cost of energy retrofits through incentives and rebates," Dave Myers, the president of Johnson Controls, said.

To read the full report on energy efficiency, visit the Johnson Controls website