In 2011, Emerson Climate Technologies surveyed more than 1,000 homeowners and found that 57 percent of respondents indicated they would invest $5,000 in a home energy upgrade if it paid for itself in two years. Perhaps as a result of this increased interest in energy awareness, a few utilities are offering substantial incentives for deep energy retrofits (DERs), which can be complex, expensive projects that are designed to shave rate payers’ energy bills by 50 percent or more.
Even with generous subsidies, DERs can run into the six-figure range, and some note that a relatively small number of homeowners may want to commit to large home renovation projects that are focused solely on saving energy. That is why savvy contractors working in this niche market focus not only on deep energy reductions, but on non-energy benefits, such as improved comfort, better IAQ, increased home values, and a more durable home. Emerson research backs up this approach, noting that approximately 70 percent of homeowners surveyed said they would be interested in purchases that would improve comfort, have less impact on the environment, and reduce energy costs.