The reasons why Americans are investing in energy efficiency
One of the most strong trends in home improvement is energy efficiency, specially in the state of California where climate change is so visible. And you might think in making this upgrade to your home, too. But there are multiple reasons for people to invest in energy efficiency. Do they try to fight global warming, create more comfort or increase their homes’ value? Let’s find out.
Less than 20 percent are concerned about climate change
Harris Poll conducted a survey of 2,100 Americans about their reasons to invest in energy efficiency. In spite of all the knowledge and daily news about the devastation provoked by global warming, just 19% of the subject choose Climate change for the main reason to make an energy efficient home improvement. Added to those, 30% express their concern about keeping natural resources and sustainability to make an upgrade. But the overwhelming majority -with almost 84% of the answers- said that they choose energy efficiency to save money.
An investment they can recover
According to another investigation from Nielsen, consumers are only willing to invest what they believe they can recoup in utility savings. The median annual U.S. household spend on improving home efficiency is $250, so most consumers are just spending in improvements that cost little to nothing. Even while some of those measures impact nicely in reducing the energy bills, people need to know that the bigger investments are the ones that offers a greater and faster return. In fact, most people don’t know that the largest energy efficiency improvements are the ones that can be done with better financing, incentive programs and tax rebates, so the return of investment is almost transparent even before the work starts.
The most common energy efficiency home improvements
Top actions to make an energy efficient upgrade, according to the Conference Board of Consumer Confidence survey
- Seal leaks: 41%
- Switch to Energy Star bulbs: 38%
- Change habits: 34%
- Install new thermostat: 12%
- Replace windows and doors: 20%
- Add or replace insulation: 18%
- Change home appliances: 13%
- Change water heater: 9%
- Convert to solar: 5%
At present, California is in the 8th place in the Most and Least Energy Efficient States ranking, that measures the efficiency of car and home energy consumption in 48 U.S. states. There are still plenty of opportunities to improve household energy consumption state-wide, but most of the homeowners need to understand that a small investment doesn’t necessarily mean a faster return.
Take some time to confer with your energy contractor about the best options for your own house and make a financial plan that give you the most of every dollar spent in the energy improvement.