Help Consumers Address Their Home Energy Concerns
Three-fourths of American consumers are concerned about rising home energy costs, according to a recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), and 76% of those surveyed reported that they have taken some action within the last 12 months to reduce the energy they consumed in their homes.
How much action they take, though, ultimately depends upon how much energy they consume in their homes, according to the survey.
Consumers today have more than two dozen consumer electronics products in their homes and the study, “Home Technologies and Energy Efficiency: A Look At Behaviors, Issues and Solutions,” indicated that they are generally aware of technology options — from aftermarket solutions to professionally-installed home technologies — that can help them achieve better home energy efficiency.
But beyond appliances and basic energy-management products like programmable thermostats, they are not as familiar with the more advanced energy-efficiency solutions that are available, such as intelligent HVAC or home automation systems.
While a key finding of the research indicated that consumers recognized that technology is not the silver bullet for reducing energy costs — 57% of the respondents said technology had to to be coupled with behavioral changes if home energy consumption is to be reduced significantly — the survey also indicated that consumers are somewhat reluctant to invest in these advanced solutions.
According to the survey, their monthly home energy bills would have to increase 31% before they would seriously investigate technology options to improve energy efficiency in their homes.
Yet, there may be ways to nudge consumers in the right direction.
Marketing messages focused on financial benefits beyond monthly bills and social responsibility may encourage consumers to learn more about energy-saving technology.
In addition, 72% of the respondents said they would learn more about home technologies if the technologies added value to their homes.
Digging a bit deeper, the survey found that 43% of consumers visited a technology Web site to research ways to mange home energy consumption. Interestingly enough, 66% of those surveyed said they were more likely to visit home improvement stores to find out how to reduce home energy, and 63% said they would contact their utility companies for solutions.
Consumers increasingly are concerned about reducing energy costs at home and are willing to buy technology to help address the issue, but they may not make the right decision without industry help.
The industry must market home technologies effectively to capitalize on the energy-saving opportunities under every roof.
Steve Koenig is the director of industry analysis at the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). As a part of CEA’s market research team, Koenig directs the Market Activity Report and Analysis Program (MARA), which tracks factory shipments of consumer electronics (CE) products to U.S. dealers and oversees the semi-annual CE Industry Forecast. For more information, e-mail Koenig, call him at 703-907-4317 or visit the CEA Web site at www.ce.org.
A version of the article was originally published in the CEA’s Vision Magazine.
Information About Home Technology Available From HTA
The Home Technology Alliance (HTA) is a partnership between NAHB and the Custom Electronic Design Installation Association (CEDIA) that was formed to position the housing industry to effectively meet the growing home buyer demand for home technology and provide maximum return on investment in the new home building and remodeling process.
For more information, visit www.nahb.org/HTA.