What aren't we more energy efficient?
Considering that cutting down on our energy use is beneficial to both the environment and to our wallets, you’d assume that everyone would be looking for appropriate energy solutions. So why aren’t we? Elisa Wood, energy expert and writer, explains why the energy efficient movement is failing to gain traction, and what this means for us as consumers.
“To most people, energy efficiency is like dieting...”
We often associate energy conservation with sacrifice and austerity. “The industry needs to shed that image,” argues Elisa. “The initial cost of investment can often hinder homeowners from making energy efficient improvements in the home.”
In a world where many people can’t see the potential savings from investing in energy efficiency, what can be done?
Green is serene
To help combat the financial barrier, the government introduced the Green Deal scheme earlier this year. It allows consumers to make energy-saving improvements without paying the total costs upfront. It is still unclear whether or not this initiative will provide enough leverage for homeowners.
A key factor that will affect uptake is a natural desire to keep up with the Joneses. “If we know our neighbours are pursuing energy efficiency, we become interested.”
“Who has the time?”
Along with costs, time is also a major barrier that limits the number of households becoming energy efficient. With busy lifestyles, energy conservation needs to be convenient and easy to adopt. “The industry should also offer more energy management tools and programmes that are simply fun to use.” Elisa gives the example of the EcoRebates app that shows available rebates for the appliances they are shopping for – eliminating the need for consumers to contact utility companies directly.
This type of fast, convenient and accessible solution is key.
Help me, help you…
More businesses and energy suppliers need to jump on board, but Elisa highlights how this is often difficult. “It’s not in the utilities’ best interests financially to encourage energy savings.” However, “the government could inspire utilities to back energy efficiency more strongly by working towards decoupling profits from energy sales.”
Whatever the solution, it’s clear that greater support and incentives are needed in order for the energy efficiency movement to gain momentum.
Meanwhile, many consumers continue to miss out on saving more of their hard earned cash; and in the longer term, the environment will continue to suffer.