Opinion Way / Rexel Foundation: electrical contractors’ and consumers’ perceptions of energy efficiency solutions

What are the expectations of both consumers and electrical professionals in terms of energy efficiency? How do they envision the sector’s future? For its newest survey on energy efficiency, Rexel Foundation broadened its panel to the electrical contractors and installers. The survey was conducted among a sample of 8,201 people living in four countries (France, United Kingdom, Germany and the United States) and gives a picture of the views of both consumers and professionals on the energy efficiency sector. Here is a summary of the study’s main results.

Energy costs are the main driver for embracing energy efficiency

The survey shows that almost half of consumers worry frequently about energy bills (several times a week), even more so in France. Electrical contractors seem to be increasingly aware of this concern, with 38% of those surveyed offering energy efficiency solutions to meet their clients’ rising demand. Over 75% of them say that cutting energy bills is their client’s top priority, rather than return on investment. Paradoxically, according to 68% of the electricians surveyed, financial constraints are precisely the reason why their clients decide not to take up energy efficiency offers. In France, where financial constraints seem to have a greater impact on clients’ decisions, this figure is 84%, i.e. 16 points above the average of surveyed countries. Furthermore, 40% of the electrical contractors who responded to the survey think that the high price of new products has a deterrent effect.

The sensitiveness of consumers to changes in their energy bills is a major driver for the implementation of home energy efficiency solutions. 72% of respondents have already improved their homes. Most of them have installed LED lighting (64%) or insulated walls, windows and ceilings (41%). Over half of those who haven’t made any changes to their homes say they intend to do so, mainly to cut their energy bills. 59% of consumers see high prices as an obstacle to action, even more so for tenants (27% of the total).

Electricians confident in the future of energy efficiency

Results of the survey reflect an increasing interest of electrical contractors in energy efficiency solutions. They value them for their usefulness (95%) and their efficiency (93%). It is therefore not surprising that 84% of electricians say they are confident in this sector and think their position enables them to face competitors. Besides, 85% of them say that they would recommend newcomers to the market to offer energy efficiency solutions. This confidence is expressed in stronger terms by contractors who went through a specific training or have a certification (respectively 50% and 30% of those surveyed).

In order to meet their short-term needs, electricians wish above all to be able to offer more affordable goods and services (especially small businesses, 76%). Besides, 74% of them call for stronger state regulation.

High consumer expectation in relation to energy efficiency

Consumers are also enthusiastic about energy efficiency, with 89% of them saying they are convinced it could help them cut their bills. They consider it is primarily their responsibility to improve their home’s energy efficiency (34%). French respondents count especially on energy providers (35%) to help them implement solutions, whereas those surveyed in the UK rely on their government. However, most think that a shift in behaviours is needed to achieve energy efficiency.

Finally, consumers’ expectation in terms of future supply include lower prices (58%), more adequate financing schemes (89%) and simplified energy efficiency solutions (85%).

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