Europeans and Americans: ready to reduce their electrical consumption

Energy efficiency aims to reduce energy consumption while maintaining the level of service provided, therefore reducing economic, ecological and social costs. Professionals in this field are very familiar with the issue, but how do French, English, German and American citizens perceive energy efficiency? How do they go about saving energy in their households? Are they prepared to make sacrifices and change their habits?

To try to answer these key questions, Rexel, a leading worldwide distributor of electrical supplies called on Harris Interactive to interview a representative sample of the population of these 4 countries*: The results of this first investigation show that energy efficiency is at the heart of the public’s concerns:

Nearly nine out of ten citizens view energy efficiency as an “important” issue. Consumers consider themselves responsible for electrical efficiency and its promotion, but recognise that they only have a superficial understanding of the existing measures in place to encourage it

  • From small changes in everyday habits to buying eco-friendly fittings, households are committed to the issue. For example: 80% of French people purchase low energy light bulbs and 72% use multi-sockets with switches (ordinary sockets do not have switches in France).
  • The issue of energy efficiency also appears to be inextricably linked to financial considerations. Consumers are keen to invest in order to reduce their electricity bills as long as they can measure the impact and see the return on their investment.
  • Distributors of electrical products have an important role to play in the promotion of electrical efficiency (according to 83% of French people)

By publishing this study, Rexel reaffirms its position at the forefront of the electrical sector, and demonstrates both its expertise in providing energy efficient solutions and its active participation in developing such solutions in partnership with manufacturers, fitters and commercial customers Rexel has also set up an information site, www.electrical-efficiency.com/ in order to promote awareness of electrical efficiency issues.

“This survey shows that we are in the process of moving towards a new energy model. As a market leader, Rexel is particularly involved in accelerating change, helping clients to find eco-efficient solutions and continuing to play a driving role in energy efficiency issues within the electrical sector”, says Jean Charles Pauze, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Rexel.

Nine out of ten citizens view energy efficiency as an “important” issue but they only have a superficial understanding of the existing measures

Respondents from all four countries are in agreement that the subject of energy efficiency is an important issue: between 86% and 95% of respondents judge the subject to be “important”, and nearly two-thirds consider it to be “very important”.

However, although citizens are aware of energy efficiency issues and believe they are informed about the measures in place in their country, their knowledge is actually somewhat superficial. In France, four people in five claim to have heard about the “eco Prêt à Taux Zéro” scheme but only 45% know exactly what it is. Similarly, in France, 72% of respondents have heard of the new Low Energy Construction Standard (BBC), but 31% of them don’t know exactly what it is.

Respondents outlined their expectations in terms of information that they need to receive: existing financial and legal incentives (for 27% of French and 35% of British), electricity consumption monitoring (23% of French and 28% of Germans) and development of new technologies (for 28% of French and 26% of Germans).

From small everyday habits to dedicated fittings, our households are committed to the issue

Europeans and Americans are very aware of energy efficiency issues and have already made many changes to their everyday habits to save energy. For example: 80% of French people purchase low energy light bulbs and 72% use multi-sockets with switches (ordinary sockets do not have switches in France).

As far as fittings are concerned, 88% of French people prefer to use low energy fittings, 53% would be ready to install movement captors to turn lights off when nobody is in the room (or have already done so) and 42% would consider installing an eco-efficient heating system.

The issue of energy efficiency is inextricably linked to financial considerations

Respondents say they would be willing to make efforts in three areas to improve their energy efficiency: efforts in terms of time (76% in France, 82% in the UK), investment in equipment that is more expensive to buy but with long-term savings (69% in France, 78% in the USA) or giving up certain comforts (71% in the UK, 61% in France, 52% in the USA). Respondents were very aware of their budgets and so tended to be torn between spending less in the short term and making investments that would reduce energy costs in the short and medium term.

Rexel: a market leader committed to promoting efficient electrical solutions

For 83% of French people, distributors of electrical products have an important role to play in the promotion of electrical efficiency. Rexel is committed to promoting electrical efficiency by actively participating in debates and discussing the industry’s standpoints but also by training and informing installers via its 2,200 outlets and the www.electrical-efficiency.com website.

Present in 36 countries, the Rexel group advises clients and helps them find the best solutions to manage energy in buildings, optimise lighting and heating efficiency, and install intelligent systems to regulate electricity consumption.

Rexel continues to pursue a strategy which aims to strengthen its service offering through the upgrade of its skills, most notably in the fields of energy audit and consulting for low consumption buildings.

* Survey administered on line between 9 and 19 July 2011. Representative samples of 4,000 people from each of the 4 countries filled in the survey via the Harris Interactive access panel. Representative samples: 1,000 people in France, 1,000 people in Germany, 1,000 people in Great Britain and 1,000 people in the USA. Quotas and readjustments were applied to the following variables: sex, age and profession of the person interviewed.

Access the survey on this site:

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