Energy efficiency: the low hanging fruit is officially picked

Energy efficiency: the low hanging fruit is officially picked

We’re wrapping up our analysis on Energy Pulse 2010, the sixth year we’ve tracked Americans’ energy attitudes and behaviors, and I wanted to give you a sneak peek.

Overall, Americans have stepped up to the call to be more energy efficient. The increase this year in reported activities is nothing short of astonishing – and it’s not just for the inexpensive, easy to do measures.

• 9 of 10 say they’ve changed their habits at home
• 3 of 4 say they’ve replaced incandescent light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs
• 64% have caulked or weatherstripped
• 60% have purchased an energy efficient appliance
• 56% say they now unplug small electronics and appliances when not in use
• 56% say they’ve installed a programmable thermostat
• 51% have installed a more efficient heating or cooling system
• 49% have added extra insulation
• 49% have installed more efficient windows

These numbers point to the need for a new targeting strategy for many energy efficient product manufacturers. Now that many energy efficient improvements are nearing a reported saturation points among early adopters (we’ll talk another time about whether or not they’ve actually done as much as they say), it’s time to start targeting those who haven’t embraced energy efficiency as a personal value, those who have less interest in the topic, and those who have serious barriers to overcome to be able to act.

These people are the ones who are not intrinsically motivated to make energy efficient changes – instead, they are extrinsically motivated and different strategies will need to be employed to engage with them. We must identify their barriers – financial ones are still the biggest challenge – and what may be needed is zero-interest financing, larger rebates and greater discounts. They’re also not necessarily interested in saving money – so a different message will need to be identified. In Energy Pulse, we see some potential for a new comfort message for the holdouts.

Now, instead of identifying people who have already completed energy efficient improvements and finding more people like them, marketers must spend more time, more energy, and ultimately more money communicating with the holdouts if any long-term progress is to be achieved.


Posted on

October 14, 2010

About the Author

Karen Barnes

Karen is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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