Take a Second Look: Pulse Insights

Take a Second Look: Pulse Insights

We all come across great insights over the course of the day, and then, like Snapchat, they quickly disappear when we turn our attention to those 1,500 emails in our inboxes. We think every now and again those great insights are worth a second look.

And that’s what we’re dialing in on today … we’re taking a second look at some of the juiciest insights to come out of our research in the last year.

As a quick reminder: for the past 12 years, we’ve polled Americans to understand their attitudes and behaviors related to energy and the environment. These proprietary Pulse studies have formed the foundation for our understanding of consumer and business decision-maker drivers and behaviors related to energy consumption, product selection, brand loyalty and CSR. And that’s allowed us to do highly effective creative campaign work for our clients – campaigns like Wasting Water Is Weird and Avoid Energy Drama.

So here are some of our most interesting consumer insights (with the stats to back them up) from the past year that you may have seen but forgotten. Take a second look – you just might find a little gem that you can use to energize your marketing program.

1. Americans are concerned about the environment and climate change, and they want more renewable energy:

  • 64% of Americans believe in climate change, and 52% of us feel anxious about it. [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • 90% think the average person should be taking concrete steps to reduce his/her environmental impact. [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • 73% say it’s important for the government to be investing in more renewable energy. [Energy Pulse 2016]
  • 69% say it’s important/very important that utilities make an effort to generate or purchase at least some part of their power via renewable energy sources. [Energy Pulse 2016]
  • 74% of Americans say that companies should continue to prioritize reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and 81% say companies should continue investing in renewable energy, regardless of what the EPA does. [March 2017 Overnight Poll of 400 Americans]


2. Sustainable behaviors and green product purchasing is increasing, and corporate sustainability matters at shelf:

  • The average number of green activities has steadily increased (from 11 activities in 2014 to 13 in 2016). [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • Almost three-quarters (73%) say they’re searching for greener products (the highest % in 8 years). [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • 45% say buying/using eco-friendly products is an important part of their personal image. [Eco Pulse 2016]
  • 74% say a company’s environmental reputation impacts their purchase decisions. [Eco Pulse 2016]


3. We’re still seeing a disconnect between energy conservation attitudes and behaviors:

  • Americans say energy conservation is important:
    • 64% say energy conservation is important in the way it affects their daily purchase choices and activities. [Energy Pulse 2016]
    • 68% think that personal energy conservation habits can make a real difference in preventing climate change. [Energy Pulse 2016]
  • Yet, 45% admit they’ve done nothing to improve the efficiency of their homes. [Energy Pulse 2015]
  • In fact, the average number of energy-efficient home improvements is actually declining (from 3.4 in 2013, to 2.9 in 2016); trends for almost all activities are on the decline. [Energy Pulse 2016]
  • Why?
    • 47% think their homes are already efficient – they don’t realize that they have a problem. [Energy Pulse 2016]
    • 84% say they know only a little or nothing about what to do to improve home energy efficiency. [Energy Pulse 2016]
    • Even the people most concerned about the environment – the people most actively engaged in green products and behaviors – don’t know that their homes have the greatest environmental impact. Only 6% of us think that the number one man-made cause of climate change is the energy we use in our homes. [Energy Pulse 2016]
      • In 2014, 30% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were created by generating electricity.
    • Most people much prefer to spend money on aesthetics.
    • 61% say saving money is among their top 3 reasons for doing energy-efficient improvements. [Energy Pulse 2016] But we’ve lied to them: many don’t save money.


And here’s what’s coming next: we’re working on a report about the much-maligned cohort, Millennials, and what makes them tick. Keep an eye out for more in the coming months, but for now here’s a sneak peek:

  • 83% are searching for greener products (vs. 73% overall).
  • Buying/using eco-friendly products is an important part of their personal image (51% vs. 45% overall).
  • And while 93% of Millennials think the average person should be taking concrete steps to reduce his/her environmental impact, they tend to be somewhat pessimistic about climate change in particular … and we think that’s holding them back from action.


In case you’ve missed any of our past Pulse reports or free downloads, you can find them all here. Please share away, or keep them all for yourself – we won’t judge.


Lee Ann Head

About Lee Ann Head

Lee Ann started Shelton Group's research department in 2000 and now oversees all custom and proprietary research. She directs a staff that designs quantitative and qualitative studies, and she oversees secondary analyses, digging deep to find the nuggets of information that pave the way for successful insights, strategies and creative. She regularly presents findings to clients and industry groups around the country, as well as in her posts on the Shelton Insights blog.

View all posts by Lee Ann Head →

1 Comment

  1. I would like to be as energy efficient as I possibly can. My 1880 house was insulated in 1980, I have driven Prius hybrids (45-54 mpg)since 2001 and a VW TDI (47-54mpg) since 2011. We have purchased Energy Star appliances to replace older ones and have the original double hung windows with storm windows on the outside and winserts on the inside.

    Our house contained five apartments when we purchased it and now consists of four, two of which are used by us and two rented. When our electric power company evaluated our energy consumption, they only replaced a couple of incandescent bulbs with LED’s. We had already replaced all the others.

    We are attempting to install photovoltaic panels via a state sponsored program but our electric supply company requires that we move all our electric meters (4 apartments and 1 owner and 1 master) from our basement (where the same company required them to be moved to inside some years ago) to outside. The county electric inspector says this is not a requirement of our state, just of the electric supplier at a cost of $8,000 on top of the price of the solar panels and their installation.

    I’m not sure we can afford this extra cost. The power company seems to be putting a massive roadblock in our (and others?) intention to be active about the changing climate which has been caused by us and those who have been profiting from the use of fossil fuels. If there wasn’t so much industry resistance to changing our power source from fossils to the sun, climate change may be able to be dealt with in a timely fashion.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest