NORWALK, Conn. — Concerns surrounding climate change have continued to grow in recent years, driving government efforts, global initiatives, and political debates around reducing energy consumption — but for most Americans who plan to make their home more energy efficient in the next 12 months, the biggest motivator for making the changes comes down to the money it allows them to save.
Among the two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans that plan to take steps to make their home energy efficient in the next year, 84 percent say saving on their energy bills is the driving factor behind the changes they plan to make. The findings are from the Winter 2016 edition of the HomeServe Biannual State of the Home Survey from HomeServe USA, a provider of home repair solutions and energy-related services. The survey is a biannual report on the financial impact of home repairs and energy use facing American homeowners, and was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of HomeServe in February 2016, among over 2,100 adults ages 18 and older.
COST SAVINGS DRIVE HOMEOWNERS TO BE MORE ENERGY CONSCIOUS
While heavily debated legislative efforts such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan hope to create change from a top-down approach, buy-in from everyday Americans on energy efficiency at the household level will also be necessary to see progress on climate change initiatives. HomeServe’s survey results suggest that leveraging the financial benefits of energy savings to influence homeowners to be more energy conscious could be an effective strategy.
The desire to implement energy efficiency tactics are potentially reflected by other findings from the survey. More than two in five Americans (42 percent) say they expect their winter home energy costs to stay the same compared to last winter, while a quarter (25 percent) expect costs to decrease. The Summer 2015 edition of the HomeServe Biannual State of the Home Survey, based on a survey conducted in July 2015, found that just 10 percent of Americans expected a decrease in their home energy costs in the following 12 months. The perception during the winter — which generally is a period of time that homeowners experience the highest energy bills — that costs are to decrease, could suggest that warmer global temperatures and a significant decrease in natural gas and oil prices have led Americans to be less concerned about heating costs. This is emphasized by the 41 percent of Americans in the Northeast, who usually endure harsher winters relative to the rest of the country, saying they expect their winter energy costs to decrease compared to last winter. Additional support for this premise can be found by comparing thermostat settings from the July 2015 survey to February 2016. The July survey found 40 percent of Americans saying they planned to adjust the thermostat to be a few degrees hotter/cooler in the following year to make their home more energy efficient, while the February survey found that a lower 36 percent said the same.
“Despite the major issues discussed and debated on the national stage, the majority of Americans appear to be motivated by cutting costs to improve the financial wellbeing of their household,” said Tom Rusin, CEO of HomeServe USA.
AVAILABLE FUNDS FOR EMERGENCY HOME REPAIRS STILL LOW
The February 2016 HomeServe Biannual State of the Home Survey also found that 23 percent of homeowners have no savings set aside to cover the cost of an emergency home repair, a slight improvement from the 25 percent who reported this in July. Of the homeowners that have some money set aside, 43 percent have $1,000 or less set aside, a reduction from the 52 percent reported in the July survey. While the amount of savings homeowners allocated for such costs improved slightly compared to the previous survey findings, the percentages are still concerning, considering the disparity between reality and expectations of homeowners on matters of emergency home repairs. HomeServe found that 69 percent of homeowners thought it was unlikely that they would experience a major home repair emergency in the next 12 months — but more than half (59 percent) reported having experienced one in the past 12 months. Furthermore, that number was up from the 48 percent of homeowners who reported experiencing a home repair emergency in the Summer 2015 edition of the survey.
An infographic on the survey results is available here.
For more information about HomeServe, visit www.homeserveusa.com.
Publication date: 3/17/2016