When it Comes to Energy Efficiency Consumers Say, "Show Me the Savings!"

Sep 5, 2012

This past fall, Emerson Climate Technologies conducted some interesting research with Harris Interactive regarding consumers’ feelings about energy efficiency. The results were “illuminating,” if not altogether surprising.

One of the most interesting findings, “only 12 percent of adults surveyed were willing to invest more than $2,000 in an energy-efficient home upgrade that would pay for itself in two years.” The survey also showed that consumers were readily willing to invest in compact fluorescent light bulbs (66 percent) for energy savings.

When you read between the lines, it’s clear that the core issue is the initial cost of investment. Despite a promise of an impressive and fairly fast return, most consumers weren’t willing to invest. The study highlights an important mindset among people in the United States in a post-recession economy.  Consumers are leery of large purchases with potentially intangible returns.

Another interesting finding was that 61 percent of the respondents indicated they were not even aware of any tax rebates or government/utility incentives available to them.

Clearly, when you are talking to consumers about energy efficiency upgrades, it’s extremely important to understand and demonstrate the “true cost.” Not the cost of the installation, but what the cost will be when it is offset by energy savings and any government incentives that they might be eligible to receive.

Emerson has the right idea. In addition to conducting some interesting research, they have developed a mobile app that helps contractors easily explain energy savings in “an understandable and objective manner.” Bravo. At Southwire, we also have several mobile apps designed to make our contractors lives easier and provide them with better, more accurate information while they are in the field.

Emerson also points its contractors to another valuable resource, the Department of Energy-sponsored Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, which details all the rebates and tax incentives for energy efficiency upgrades.

How are you educating your clients about “true costs?” What is working for you?