On the road to going green, Americans are taking basic, cost-cutting measures. When it comes to spending money on energy retrofits, the average American still has their hand in their pocket, according to a recent Harris Poll.
Most Americans are taking basic steps to go green > turning off lights, televisions or other appliances when not in use (82%), replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones (58%), using power strips (56%), looking for ENERGY STAR labels when replacing appliances (55%) and using low watt bulbs (54%).
When it comes to investing in energy efficiency, Americans are reticent. The poll notes that less than half of Americans have installed a programmable thermostat (37%), sealed gaps in floors or walls around pipes or electric wiring (34%), installed low-flow faucets (29%), energy efficient windows (28%) or added insulation to an attic, crawl space or accessible exterior windows (27%).
Surprisingly, despite all the marketing, just in one ten U.S. adults (11%) have conducted a home energy evaluation or audit. And there are regional differences in how homes go green. Three in five Westerners (59%) use low wattage light bulbs compared to just 48% of Easterners. Two in five of those living in the West (40%) have installed low-flow faucets compared to just 25% of those in the East and 23% in the Midwest. In the meantime, over half of Southerners (55%) change their air filters monthly in comparison to just 27% of Easterners and 28% of Westerners.
The technology is there > green buttons, smart meters, yet one in five Americans (21%) say they have been contacted by their utility or co-op about energy efficiency tools. Nationwide, we’ve been good about it, as nearly 1/3rd of Westerners (32%) have been contacted compared to just 16% of Midwesterners.
The green technology item that Americans really want is a dashboard in their home (48%), even with the understanding that they would have to be proactive about their energy use. The dashboard is exciting because many Americans would prefer to control their energy usage – seven in ten U.S. adults (69%) would prefer to manage that energy distribution themselves while only 9% would prefer to have their utility manage their energy use.
Technology is ahead of adoption. American families are proactive about taking simple steps to be more conscientious about using and paying for energy in their own homes. As to be expected, the recession has curtailed many from making any large green improvement investments. Perhaps energy companies will need to come up with more stimulating incentives to inspire customers to adopt energy efficient solutions.
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