Americans need better financial incentives if they’re to make energy efficiency home improvements, according to a new Shelton Group study. The national study, Utility Pulse 2010, asked1,032 homeowners and renters in the United States about their savings expectations for energy efficiency programs and what incentives motivate them to invest in energy efficiency products. Not surprisingly, saving money was the biggest driver for energy-efficient home improvements.
Overall, 84 percent of homeowners and 73 percent of renters made at least one low-cost, energy-efficient change, such as replacing incandescent light bulbs and installing weather stripping, to their current homes in the last 20 years. Of the roughly 830 people who undertook an energy-efficient improvement or purchase, 23% did so with a rebate or financial incentive. Utility bill reductions from energy efficiency improvements did not meet about one-quarter of respondents’ expectations, but 44 percent of unsatisfied consumers still believe they should make more improvements. About 17 percent had participated in an energy assessment, and 73% of those who carried out the assessment’s recommendations were satisfied with their resultant lower utility bills. The tipping point for bill-reduction satisfaction is investing in five energy efficiency home improvements of any kind, the study found.
“Utilities, manufacturers and retailers are going to have to step up their incentives – and get a lot more creative and targeted in marketing energy efficiency,” said Suzanne Shelton, president of Shelton Group, who added that utilities must expand existing energy-efficiency programs, as well as provide increased financial incentives tailored to different types of consumers.
Installing Velux skylights is a way to save energy and money. Photo courtesy Velux