Million Metric Tons

of CO2 emissions that Johnson Controls has avoided since 2000


Non-hazardous waste

diverted from landfills from Johnson Controls' plants



in Johnson Controls' global energy intensity over the last 12 years

The Path to Drawdown: Building Automation Systems

Buildings and construction account for 38% of global CO2 emissions and 35% of total energy use. And much of the energy-use in buildings is the result of heating and air-conditioning, lighting, information and communications systems, security and access systems, fire alarms, elevators, appliances, and indirectly through plumbing.

Most large commercial buildings in industrialized countries have some sort of centralized, computer-based building management system that monitors, evaluates, and controls these systems. That centralized management is called building automation system. Building automation systems use sensors to constantly scan and rebalance energy use to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. New buildings can be equipped with a building automation system from the start, and old ones can be retrofitted to incorporate it and reap its benefits.

Adopting automated, rather than manual, building management systems can result in over 20% more efficient heating and cooling, and 8% more efficient energy use for light, appliances, etc.

Current adoption of building automation systems varies widely by country. Project Drawdown estimates that, for building automation systems to make a significant dent in global emissions, their adoption needs to grow particularly rapidly in developing countries:

  • In 2018, over 75% of buildings in some high-income countries were managed by automated systems while some developing regions had not adopted them at all. 
  • By 2050, if building automation systems are adopted by 100% of commercial buildings in OECD countries, 80% in China, and 50% in all other regions, they can help avoid up to 10.48 gigatons of CO2 emissions.


Johnson Controls (stock ticker: JCI) produces fire, HVAC, and security equipment for buildings. They offer engineering, manufacturing and commission building products and systems, including residential and commercial HVAC equipment, industrial refrigeration systems, security systems, fire detection systems and fire suppression solutions. Headquartered in Cork, Ireland, they have branch offices and serve customers in more than 150 countries.

JCI's Role in Drawdown

Johnson Controls’ Building Technologies & Solutions business unit designs, produces, installs and services HVAC systems, industrial refrigeration, building management systems, fire security systems and mechanical equipment for commercial and residential buildings.

Their building automation systems allow customers to connect their commercial HVAC, lighting, security and protection systems together, enabling them to communicate on a single platform to deliver the information necessary to enhance energy efficiency and comfort.

JCI: What We Like

Johnson Controls’ building automation and building efficiency services have helped customers avoid sizable amounts of GHG emissions. Between 2018 and 2020, 721,188 metric tons of CO2e emissions were avoided, equivalent to preventing the emissions from 86,848 homes’ energy use for one year.

Beyond this, we commend Johnson Controls for their meticulous and thorough attention to reporting their sustainability metrics in their Sustainability Report. Their complete reporting of scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, emissions avoided, source of energy use, etc. help investors evaluate the company’s carbon footprint.

JCI: What We Want to See Improve

Divest from Oil & Gas Business

Up to 18% of their revenue (p. 120) comes from selling equipment to the oil and gas sectors. These sales help perpetuate these high-emitting industries. We urge JCI executives to divest from this business as soon as they can and focus entirely on the Drawdown solution of building efficiency.

Reduce Absolute GHG Emissions

We applaud Johnson Controls for reducing their GHG intensity (p. 4) by a substantial amount over the last decade. But rather than reducing their emissions intensity, which they achieved by offsetting (p. 16) their emissions through the purchase of renewable energy certificates, we want to see Johnson Controls work to reduce their absolute emissions. Cutting absolute emissions is the only way to genuinely help the world achieve a zero emission future.

Switch to Renewable Energy

Johnson Controls is heavily reliant (p. 78) on fossil fuel energy (gasoline, diesel, propane, butane, jet fuel, heavy fuel oil, and coal) and biomass and ethanol, which are low-emission but still not clean. And their use of these fuels have slowly increased between 2017 and 2019 (1.34% CAGR). We urge them to transition to renewable power for their operations, and to electric or green hydrogen for their fleet and transportation as soon as possible.

Other Building Automation Stocks in the Climate Index

Attend Our Next Webinar

Attend Our Next Webinar

Join our next Sustainable Investing 101 webinar, get our favorite DIY options, and walk through how we build our portfolios.

Get Our Newsletter

Get Our Newsletter

Go a level deeper with us and investigate the potential impacts of climate change on investments like your retirement account.

Join Newsletter
Talk To A Human

Talk To A Human

Joining a new investment service can be intimidating. We’re here for you. Click below to email us a question or book a quick call.

Ask a Question