Where do you rank? Most homeowners say they're above average in energy efficiency
While most homeowners pass the energy conservation test, they need to brush up on Energy Savings 101 if they want to stay cool and keep bills low this season.
The Lennox Home Energy Report Card Survey, commissioned by Lennox Industries, a leading manufacturer of innovative home comfort products, and conducted by GfK Roper, found that comfort is a high priority for homeowners but saving money never goes out of style.
In fact, 30 percent of homeowners would rather walk around in their underwear at home than spend the money to cool down the house.
“Saving energy does not have to be a daunting task,” Lennox energy efficiency expert Kyle Golden said. “There are simple maintenance tasks and improvements homeowners can put into action around the house that can make a big impact on energy bills. All energy savings efforts count, but while changing the air filter in a heating and cooling system and routine maintenance on your system are important, making bigger changes, such as installing a smart thermostat, can yield even more savings over time.”
Making the Grade: Homeowners Looking to Go to the Head of the Class When it Comes to Energy Efficiency
Nearly half of homeowners (45 percent) gave themselves a ‘B’ grade in energy efficiency, down slightly from 2014, while Cs were on the rise (up 12 percent from last year), indicating there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to energy savings.
Ninety-three percent of homeowners indicated that they participate in some kind of energy saving activity at home. Home energy conservation habits include: changing the air filter in heating and cooling system (74 percent), turning up or down the temperature on their hot water heater (61 percent), using a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature when at home or away (55 percent), replacing an old or inefficient air conditioning system (45 percent), unplugging the TV or other electronics when not in use (34 percent) and using solar energy to power appliances (11 percent).
While many are proactively taking positive actions toward lowering energy bills, some earn a failing grade for doing more harm than good. Twenty-two percent of homeowners said they would turn off their cooling system completely during hot days or the heating system on extremely cold days.
“While turning off your air conditioning system completely seems like an easy and effective way to conserve energy and save money during the summer, it is actually forcing the system to work overtime to get back to a comfortable temperature. Doing so uses more energy and can therefore cost more – not to mention the increased wear and tear on the equipment,” said Golden. “Instead of turning off your system, we recommend lowering or raising the temperature of your thermostat – or better yet, install a smart thermostat that will do it for you while helping save you money.”
Reading, Writing and Recycling: Homeowners Willing to Go Green, But Focused on Saving Some Green
More homeowners (69 percent, up 13 percent from 2014) conserve energy at home to save money over helping the environment; however, if money was no object, homeowners said they would be willing to invest in the following to conserve energy: solar panels or appliances (36 percent), more efficient windows (19 percent), high-efficiency air conditioner or furnace (18 percent), insulation (10 percent), programmable thermostat (7 percent), high-efficiency water heater (7 percent), low-flow shower head (2 percent).
Pop Quiz: What makes homeowners turn up (or down) the heat?
Changes in weather aren’t the only reason homeowners are motivated to crank up (or down) the A/C. Homeowners are making a conscious decision to adjust the thermostat when performing everyday activities as well.
The Lennox Home Energy Report Card survey indicated homeowners are adjusting the temperature on their thermostat when sleeping (61 percent), entertaining (43 percent), cooking (19 percent), exercising (16 percent) and “making whoopee” (13 percent). Altering the temperature while doing any of these activities can ensure homeowners earn an “A” in comfort, but might lower their overall grade in energy efficiency.
Tough Subject: The Battle of Cost vs. Comfort
According to the survey, homeowners are hesitant to take more costly steps to conserve energy, which would lead to a bigger return on investment, and are taking smaller energy saving steps. They indicated they would be willing to turn up the temperature on their thermostat the following degrees above where they typically set it during the summer months if they could save $50 a month on their electricity bill: 10 degrees or more (10 percent), seven to nine degrees (14 percent), three to six degrees (43 percent, up 11 percent from last year), one to two degrees (22 percent), with 10 percent not willing to raise the temperature at all. While homeowners show that they are willing to take steps to conserve energy, they are not likely to sacrifice comfort over savings.
Hitting the Books: How Homeowners Can Improve Their Grade
“With high-tech advancements in home automation, like smart thermostats, homeowners can achieve the comfort they want at a lower cost,” Golden says. “While making big changes at home, like replacing your existing heating or cooling system, can seem daunting to many homeowners, it doesn’t have to be – and it can yield significant savings on monthly energy bills – giving you high grades on energy savings.
Read more about energy efficient heating and cooling.
Companies: Lennox Industries