While the vast majority of Americans say that they are knowledgeable about energy sources, many are not actually making the necessary changes nor monitoring their own usage.
According to the results of a recent Harris Poll, majorities of Americans are doing some basic things like turning off lights, televisions or other appliances when not in use (82 percent), replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones (58 percent), using power strips (56 percent), looking for ENERGY STAR labels when replacing appliances (55 percent) and using low watt bulbs (54 percent). But there are other things majorities of Americans are not doing.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,056 adults surveyed online between February 6 and 13, 2012 by Harris Interactive.
Less than half of Americans have installed a programmable thermostat (37 percent), sealed gaps in floors or walls around pipes or electric wiring (34 percent), installed low-flow faucets (29 percent), energy efficient windows (28 percent) or added insulation to an attic, crawl space or accessible exterior windows (27 percent). And just one in ten U.S. adults (11 percent) have conducted a home energy evaluation or audit.
There are certain regional differences as well. For example, over half of Southerners (55 percent) change their air filters monthly in comparison to just 27 percent of Easterners and 28 percent of Westerners. Three in five Westerners (59 percent) use low wattage light bulbs compared to just 48 percent of Easterners and, two in five of those living in the West (40 percent) have installed low-flow faucets compared to just 25 percent of those in the East and 23 percent in the Midwest.
Controlling Energy Usage at Home
One way utilities around the country are helping households control energy costs is with Smart Meter technology. Yet just one in five Americans (21 percent) say they have been contacted by their utility or co-op about this or other energy efficiency tools. It seems to be used more in the West as one-third of those living there (32 percent) have been contacted compared to just 16 percent of Midwesterners.
If they could control their home energy use and lower energy costs with a computerized dashboard in their home, almost half of Americans (48 percent) say they would be likely to install such a dashboard in their home, even with the understanding that they would have to proactively manage their energy use. Three in ten (31 percent) are neither likely nor unlikely to install this and one in five (21 percent) are unlikely to do so. This likelihood is a little soft as just 13 percent are very likely to install this dashboard and one-third (35 percent) are somewhat likely to do so.
One reason this dashboard may work is that Americans would prefer to control their energy usage. If they were allotted a maximum amount of energy for daily use that varies during peak energy usage periods, seven in ten U.S. adults (69 percent) would prefer to manage that energy distribution themselves while only 9 percent would prefer to have their utility manage their energy use; one in five (22 percent) are not sure.