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Energy Pulse™ 2013

Energy Pulse™ from Shelton Group is an annual study of consumers tracking all things related to energy efficiency – so you can engage them where they are and move them to act. It measures interest in conserving energy and water, exposes barriers to adoption of conservation practices and energy-efficient purchases, and provides a clear picture of American households segmented by energy conservation perceptions, motivations and behaviors.

Study OverviewMethodologyExecutive SummaryPress Release

Energy Efficiency Revamped: New Messages for a Resistant Audience

In our ninth annual Energy Pulse™ study of American consumers, we get to the heart of consumers’ attitudes and behaviors around energy efficiency.

This comprehensive study …

  • Profiles and segments U.S. households by demographics, energy conservation perceptions, motivations and behaviors
  • Determines purchase potential for a variety of energy-efficient home and automotive products
  • Reveals attitudes and purchase propensity for energy-efficient homes and home renovations
  • Measures willingness/interest in changing behaviors to conserve energy and water
  • Exposes barriers to conservation and energy-efficient purchases
  • Identifies drivers and the persuasive messages that resonate best with consumers
  • Tracks knowledge, interest and support for renewable energy alternatives

Get a glimpse.
Download your free executive summary by clicking on the tab above.

Revel in revelations.
The facts we uncover are essential for guiding your organization toward engaging consumers in energy efficiency awareness – and action. Just to scratch the surface, this year’s report brings to light …

  • What factors have lulled consumers into a false complacency about their home’s energy efficiency
  • How new messaging directions elicit stronger, more emotional responses than the old “save money” missives
  • Which channel “partners” are derailing consumers’ good decisions

Learn how to apply all the intel.
We don’t just leave you with a pile of facts. We help you take the study and apply it effectively. For example, you’ll learn:

  • The levers your company can use to increase engagement and encourage action
  • Which insider language shouldn’t be used in consumer messaging without explanation
  • How to effectively link energy efficiency to home value
  • Steps to prepare for the coming storm of higher prices, colder weather and deferred home energy efficiency improvements

Read it and reap.
Peruse a few pages of the report to see for yourself the benefits you’ll gain. Then purchase your complete copy.

Energy Pulse 2013 – page 31 | Energy Pulse 2013 – page 35

The Energy Pulse questionnaire, designed by Shelton Group, contained fixed-response alternative, Likert scale and open-response questions. We surveyed a total of 1,008 Americans online, utilizing members of Survey Sampling International’s online panel of more than three million U.S. Internet users. Based on the total population of U.S. households (114,567,419), results from this study would be comparable to an RDD phone sample of the U.S. population with an overall confidence level of 95% and a confidence interval (margin of error) of +/- 3.09%.

Download your sneak peek now.


Martha Wampler



Shelton Group Survey: Homeowners Are Missing the Link Between Energy Efficiency & Home Value
Energy Efficiency Improvements Not Only Help with Utility Bills, But Also at Resale
KNOXVILLE, Tenn., November 12, 2013 – A recent study reveals that when it comes to making energy efficient upgrades to their homes, Americans just don’t think it’s worth it.

The study, conducted by Shelton Group, shows that 26 percent of Americans say they prioritize energy-efficient home improvements over aesthetic ones, yet projects planned for the near future indicate higher propensity for remodeling kitchens and baths than for energy efficiency improvements like adding insulation or replacing HVAC units.

“We know the housing crisis has made homeowners sensitive to impacts on home values. One of the biggest barriers to making energy-efficient upgrades is a perception that it’s just not worth it – that the investment will not result in higher resale value for your home,” said Suzanne Shelton, president and CEO of Shelton Group. “Yet Americans are sold on the idea that kitchen and bath remodels allow them to command a higher price. The challenge is convincing Americans that the same is true of energy-efficient upgrades.”

The national survey, Shelton’s ninth annual Energy PulseTM study, also found that 81 percent of those surveyed said energy efficiency would have somewhat to very much impact on their selection decision when comparing two homes. Additionally, a recent UC Berkeley/UCLA study of 1.6 million home transactions found that green labeling improved selling price. Controlling for all other factors, such as location, school district, crime rate, time period of sale, views and amenities, researchers found that the 4,321 homes sold with ENERGY STAR®, LEED® or GreenPoint rated labels commanded an average price premium of 9 percent.

“Most homebuyers expect to make improvements, but they want to spend their money on ‘sexy’ improvements like paint and new countertops,” said Shelton. “They do not want to upgrade the HVAC, add insulation or buy a new water heater, so it might actually keep you from selling your home if you haven’t made energy-efficient improvements.”

The study also found:

• When hypothetically given money for a home improvement project, homeowners consistently prioritized remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. Replacing windows, a project with dual benefits (aesthetic and energy efficient), was a consistent second priority, which has edged out flooring upgrades for the past few years. HVAC or furnace replacements rounded out the top three responses.

• Higher income homeowners were less likely to prioritize energy efficiency (20 percent of households earning $100,000+, compared to 33 percent of those earning less than $25,000). Prioritization of comfort, on the other hand, was significantly correlated to age. Thirty-four percent of homeowners aged 45+ chose comfort, compared to 26 percent of younger homeowners.

• Only 11 percent admitted that “making my home more beautiful” was their top priority. But in a later question meant to double-check honesty about home spending priorities, it was revealed that 55 percent were likely (with 19 percent of those “very likely”) to make nonenergy efficiency improvements to their homes (e.g., kitchen or bathroom renovations, new carpet, tile or hardwood, etc.) in the near future. This is significantly higher than the overall average likelihood (12 percent) for making energy efficiency improvements in the same timeframe.

• Homeowners’ primary barrier to undertaking more energy-efficient improvements continues to be cost. When asked why they haven’t done more to improve their homes, most (44 percent) said, “It would be expensive.” “There are other renovations I want to do first” was the second most common answer, while 9 percent selected a new option, “I’m not willing to replace things that are working fine.”

So what’s the solution? According to the study, new messaging directions that elicit stronger, more emotional responses rather than “save money” messages should help encourage homeowners to prioritize energy-efficient improvements.

“Linking energy efficiency to home value is a powerful messaging strategy,” said Shelton. “It seems we have work to do to convince homeowners that energy-efficient improvements are worth the investment, both for lower utility bills and increased resale value.”


Shelton Group is the nation’s leading marketing communications agency entirely focused in the energy efficiency and sustainability space. The Knoxville, Tennessee-based firm works with many of America’s leading utility, building products and consumer goods companies to develop differentiated communications campaigns to leverage their sustainability stories for a market advantage. That campaign work is informed by insights and perspectives extracted from Shelton’s quarterly polling of American attitudes and behaviors about energy efficiency and sustainability. For more information about Shelton Group, visit www.sheltongrp.com.

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