Increasing Number of Americans Are Saving Household Energy

Alex Palmer, ContributorNew York–Consumers are open to making energy-saving lifestyle changes. But, they are still far from becoming active managers of their household energy use, per new research from Nielsen Claritas. The annual Convergence Audit drew on data from more than 32,000 respondents replying both online and through the mail about their energy behavior.While consumers are generally on board with energy conscious products, their green behavior has yet to extend to their habits in monitoring and paying for the energy in their homes.Services offered by local utilities such as whole house energy audits, energy efficient HVAC rebates and weatherization services were only used by 2 percent of respondents in the past year. Energy efficient appliance rebates were used by 4 percent.Similarly, online energy services, such as real-time pricing, load management, and service consumption monitoring were adopted by only 3 to 5 percent of consumers in the past year.With the energy industry poised for major changes, including a heavier reliance on technology in monitoring and delivery, the report emphasizes that energy providers have major opportunities if they can educate their customers to become more active in their energy use.Respondents showed a continued interest in energy-efficient equipment in the home, with 25 percent of consumers having purchased an Energy Star certified appliance, lighting product, or heating or cooling equipment in the last year. However this percentage fell from 27 percent last year.Energy conserving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) have shown strong adoption with 71 percent of consumers using at least one bulb in their homes. Nearly a third (30 percent) of those surveyed said they are using more than six.One indicator that going green is not just a trend for younger consumers is that CFL use appears to increase with age. While 64 percent of those aged 18 to 34 are using the bulbs, so are 70 percent of adults 35-54 and 74 percent of consumers 55 and older.Ownership of CFLs is highest among those with higher income and education levels, with 76 percent use among those making over $100,000 a year.Download the complete Convergence Audit