Surprise Tops Owners' List of Needed Features

March 4, 2015

Energy efficiency is highly important to a growing number of households — so much so that the Demand Institute found that on a list of 52 housing and community concerns that more than 10,000 households were asked to rank in importance, households said energy efficiency had great importance even though only a fraction said they had actually improved it in their home. Energy efficiency was the biggest satisfaction gap, defined by what people say they want but don’t have, found in the survey.

Seventy-one percent of the households polled said energy efficiency was "highly important" to them, but only 35 percent of households said they felt their homes were very efficient with low monthly utility costs. Energy efficiency was the housing concern with the largest gap between the rate of importance and satisfaction – even topping other needs and desires like updated kitchens, storage space, safe neighborhoods, affordability, landlord responsiveness, and other issues, according to the survey.

"Utilities are as significant and regular part of households’ budgets, and spending on utilities has risen more quickly than overall consumer spending – 56 percent versus 38 percent growth since 2000," says Louise Kelly, president of the Demand Institute.

Still, 90 percent of the households polled said they have taken measures to reduce energy use in the last five years. In particular:
67% say they have changed their energy-use habits;
63% have switched to CFL or LED bulbs;
38% have sealed air leaks;
34% have replaced old, inefficient appliances;
28% have installed a programmable thermostat.

Source: "Poll: Energy Efficiency Is America’s No. 1 Housing Concern," (Jan. 21, 2015) and The Demand Institute