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Survey: Many Homeowners Conserve Energy to Save Money

Nearly one-third of homeowners would rather walk around in their underwear than spend money to cool down their home during the summer months, according to a survey commissioned by HVAC equipment manufacturer Lennox Industries, Richardson, Texas.

The Lennox Home Energy Report Card Survey found that saving money is a top incentive to conserve energy. The findings are based on a telephone survey that was conducted by GfK Roper on behalf of Lennox Industries among 719 homeowners (ages 18 and over) within the U.S. during May 2017. GfK Roper is a market research firm with offices in the U.S. the U.K. and elsewhere.

Homeowners give themselves above-average marks in energy conservation, Lennox Industries said in a June 13 news release describing the results of the survey. Twenty-one percent of homeowners gave themselves an ‘A,’ (a 4% increase from 2016), 45% gave their household a ‘B’ when grading their household energy efficiency (a 6% decrease from 2016), and 29% gave themselves a ‘C,’ indicating more people are moving toward the head of the class when it comes to energy savings. Although a majority (93%) have taken steps to conserve energy, it’s clear that a number of homeowners see the opportunity for increased efforts, the company said.

When asked to name the biggest energy hog in the home, female and male heads of household were nearly equally identified (34% versus 32%), while 21% of the homeowners said it was a child/children who are most wasteful.

Homeowners conserve energy at home to save money (64%, down 5% from 2016) over helping the environment; however, if money was no object, they said they would be willing to invest in the following to increase energy efficiency: solar panels or appliances (39% this year, compared to 32% in 2016), more efficient windows (19%), high-efficiency air conditioner or furnace (19%), insulation (9%), programmable thermostat (7%), high-efficiency water heater (5%).

“Saving energy and reducing your electricity bills doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort. In fact, a few simple actions—from installing a smart thermostat to keeping air filters clean and changing them regularly—can help homeowners increase comfort levels, control costs and conserve energy this summer,” said Lennox energy efficiency expert Trent Davis.

While homeowners show that they are willing to take steps to conserve energy, they are not likely to sacrifice their comfort over savings. When asked how willing homeowners are to turn the thermostat up to save $50 a month on their utility bill, 39% would be willing to raise their thermostat three to six degrees, while 25% would not go any higher than one or two degrees.

Changes in weather aren’t the only reason homeowners are motivated to crank up (or down) the A/C. Survey responses indicated that homeowners adjust the temperature on their thermostat when sleeping (57%), entertaining (46%), cooking (21%), exercising (14%) and “making whoopee” (12%). The survey also found that nearly half of U.S. homeowners will turn on their air conditioning system for the first time of the year in May or June, while 7% of home owners run their A/C system year-around.

While many people proactively take positive actions toward lowering energy bills, some do earn a failing grade for doing more harm than good. Twenty-four percent of homeowners said they have turned off their cooling system completely during hot days or heating systems on extremely cold days to help conserve energy. “While turning off your air conditioning system seems like a good idea in theory, it actually is forcing the unit to work harder,” Davis said. “Doing so uses more energy and therefore costs the homeowners more in the end.” Instead of turning the household system on and off, Davis recommended lowering or raising the thermostat or installing a smart thermostat, “which will do it all for you while it’s saving you money.”

Full survey results are available upon request by calling Matthew Pardee at 214-379-3709.

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