Home Owners See Solar, Wind in Their Future

June 3, 2015

The preferred energy sources for the future of U.S. homes may be solar and wind, according to a new survey conducted by SolarCity, a solar installer, and Clean Edge, a marketing research firm.

Of the approximately 1,400 home owners surveyed, half identified solar energy as the most important energy source for the future of housing—regardless of where respondents lived or their political views. Coming in second as an important future energy source was wind, followed by natural gas, increased efficiency, oil, hydro- and nuclear power. 

On the other hand, the power sources that received the least public support were geothermal, coal, and biofuel/biomass. 

About 87 percent of respondents surveyed said that renewable sources are important to the nation’s energy future. However, respondents said that “saving money,” not “reducing my environmental impact," serves as the most important factor in deciding to purchase clean energy products and services. In fact, 82 percent of home owners surveyed cited saving money as the most important factor, while reducing the environmental impact was cited by 34 percent.

"Sustained double-digit growth rates for more than a decade reflect the long-term nature of this current shift to more efficient, cleaner, and environmentally friendly products and services," the surveyors wrote. "But don’t be mistaken; as our research clearly points out, it is cost savings, much more than environmental factors, that are driving this monumental shift."

The survey found the most popular energy upgrades that home owners are planning on for the next year are LED light bulbs (27 percent) and smart thermostats (12 percent). Fewer people cited pricier energy upgrades such as photovoltaic panels (6 percent), electric vehicles (4 percent), and heat pumps (4 percent). 

Source: “What Home Owners Think About Clean Energy,” Green Building Advisor (June 2, 2015)