Americans Making Changes to be More Energy Efficient at Home
Almost half would install dashboards to control energy use
Majorities of Americans say that they are knowledgeable about energy sources, but are they making changes and taking advantage of what is out there to monitor their own usage? Majorities of Americans are doing some basic things like turning off lights, televisions or other appliances when not in use (82%), replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones (58%), using power strips (56%), looking for ENERGY STAR labels when replacing appliances (55%) and using low watt bulbs (54%). But there are other things majorities of Americans are not doing.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive.
Less than half of Americans have installed a programmable thermostat (37%), sealed gaps in floors or walls around pipes or electric wiring (34%), installed low-flow faucets (29%), energy efficient windows (28%) or added insulation to an attic, crawl space or accessible exterior windows (27%). And just in one ten U.S. adults (11%) have conducted a home energy evaluation or audit. There are certain regional differences as well. For example, over half of Southerners (55%) change their air filters monthly in comparison to just 27% of Easterners and 28% of Westerners. Three in five Westerners (59%) use low wattage light bulbs compared to just 48% of Easterners and, two in five of those living in the West (40%) have installed low-flow faucets compared to just 25% of those in the East and 23% in the Midwest.
Controlling Energy Usage at Home
One way utilities around the country are helping households control energy costs is with Smart Meter technology. Yet just one in five Americans (21%) say they have been contacted by their utility or co-op about this or other energy efficiency tools. It seems to be used more in the West as one-third of those living there (32%) have been contacted compared to just 16% of Midwesterners.
If they could control their home energy use and lower energy costs with a computerized dashboard in their home, almost half of Americans (48%) say they would be likely to install such a dashboard in their home, even with the understanding that they would have to proactively manage their energy use. Three in ten (31%) are neither likely nor unlikely to install this and one in five (21%) are unlikely to do so. This likelihood is a little soft as just 13% are very likely to install this dashboard and one-third (35%) are somewhat likely to do so.
One reason this dashboard may work is that Americans would prefer to control their energy usage. If they were allotted a maximum amount of energy for daily use that varies during peak energy usage periods, seven in ten U.S. adults (69%) would prefer to manage that energy distribution themselves while only 9% would prefer to have their utility manage their energy use; one in five (22%) are not sure.
In light of rising energy costs and increased pressure to make ends meet, American families are taking simple steps to be more conscientious about how they are using and paying for energy in their own homes. But the challenging economy and the requirement for a large initial investment is limiting how far families might be willing or able to go, steps that involve more expense, like installing solar, wind, smart meters or energy dashboards are not being widely adopted, said Sarah Simmons, Senior Research Executive and Industry Thought Leader. Energy companies may need to think more creatively on ways to incentivize consumer behavior toward adoption of more energy efficient solutions, said Simmons.
View the full report at http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/americans-making-changes-to-be-more-energy-efficient-at-home-142437875.html