Americans and energy efficiency: in need for information

According to Rexel’s international survey on energy efficiency, Americans understand the advantages of energy efficiency as much as their European counterparts, but need further education about pricing advantages before they will take action that matches European levels.

Energy Efficiency: an issue that is accepted and understood which Americans have developed an “accounting” approach towards

Energy efficiency appears to be an important subject for 95% of Americans, with nearly two thirds of them (63%) saying that it is very important. At the same time, 89% say that they pay attention to their energy consumption, with 37% of them being very attentive. The attention paid to this issue is confirmed by the high level of familiarity with the measures introduced nationally to encourage energy efficiency. Thus, a large majority of Americans claim to know each of the three measures tested (between 93% and 75%), two of which were more clearly identified than the other: the Energy Star appliances and purchase rebates (well known to 69%) and the financial financial financial incentives offered by federal government (well known to 54%). The upcoming ban on incandescent bulbs, known to 75% of Americans, was clearly identified by only 46%.

Responses show Americans consider energy efficiency to be important and pay attention to it. Energy efficiency is justified, in their opinion, not only for environmental protection (91% judge this to be a good reason, with 58% believing it to be a very good reason), but also to two other considerations: (1) the desire to reduce expenses (97%, of whom 75% consider this to be a very good reason) and (2) the guarantee of energy security (92%, of whom 53% believe this to be a very good reason). The Americans therefore look at energy efficiency with an accounting eye, in a both concrete and locally focused way. Moreover, while they point out the role of consumers in promoting energy efficiency, they also highlight the role of the individual state governments whose actions are stressed even more than that of national government (78% compared to 76%).

An absence of knowledge results in a relatively low implementation of ecologically friendly practices in everyday life

Americans seem to lack information about many practical steps towards of energy efficiency and, as a result, do not always exhibit behavior conducive to its ends. In effect, certain everyday actions that help reduce energy consumption (completely filling the washing machine before starting it, switching off appliances rather than setting them to stand-by, etc.) do not yet appear to have been fully adopted, in particular given the number of people who state that they pay attention to their energy consumption.

As a consequence, Americans seem to want to be informed of the ecological impact of these small actions: one in five wants to obtain more information about this type of behavior, which is the second most cited item after “what works need to be done in the home to make it energy efficient”.

Great potential for improvement based on better information and the development of investments that pay for themselves

Americans do indeed seem to have great potential in terms of reducing energy consumption. On the one hand, even if the everyday behavior of Americans does not seem to be conducive to improved energy efficiency, 75% of them say that they are prepared to invest more of their own time in order to save energy and half of them say they are prepared to change their behavior in order to improve their energy efficiency. Similarly, while the majority of Americans emphasize the excessively high price of low-energy products (54%), a third of them stress the fact that they lack information about these products and their price. Overall therefore, Americans are not particularly hostile to the idea of developing energy-efficient behaviors, in particular since they want more information concerning the areas in which they are currently more reticent.

Americans also want more information about the work needed to make their homes energy-efficient. This information seems to be all the more vital given that a large majority of Americans say that they are prepared to make investments in their homes in order to achieve a long-term improvement in their energy efficiency (83% in the case of double-paned windows, 75% for heat pumps, 72% for solar water heaters, 68% for an alarm system warning them in the event of overconsumption, etc.). With approximately 70% of them owning their own homes, these investments which will pay for themselves in the long term seem to constitute a major lever to help optimize their energy consumption, especially since Americans primarily focus on financial aspects in the promotion of energy efficiency.

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