Marketing energy efficiency: perceived benefits and barriers to home energy efficiency

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Energy efficiency contributes significantly to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the associated mitigation of climate change. The uptake of energy efficiency measures in the residential sector requires significant effort on the part of homeowners or residents. Past research has revealed that cost savings and social interaction motivate energy efficiency behavior. This study expands on this research by examining the hypothesis that there are regional differences in what motivates individuals to implement home energy efficiency upgrades. Two surveys (N = 320 and N = 423) examine the perceived benefits of and barriers to undertaking home energy efficiency improvements in varying geographic regions across the USA and test marketing materials that target these benefits and barriers. The hypothesis that there are regional differences in perceptions of energy efficiency was confirmed. Cost savings were found to be the most important benefit to individuals across the country. Energy efficiency being a good investment is either the second or third most important benefit across all regions. Increased comfort is the last of the top three most important benefits to those in the South and Midwest, while those in the Northeast demonstrated interest in the increase in home retail value associated with energy efficiency, and those in the West found the environmental benefits to be important. High costs of energy efficiency improvements were found to be the most commonly perceived barrier. Reported likelihood to enroll in a home energy efficiency program offered by one’s employer was predicted by perceived likelihood that coworkers would enroll, income level, and personal opinions about the importance of energy efficiency.





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Cole, Jennifer, Jessica McDonald, Xinyuan Wen and R Kramer (2018). Marketing energy efficiency: perceived benefits and barriers to home energy efficiency. Energy Efficiency, 11(7). pp. 1811–1824. 10.1007/s12053-018-9614-z Retrieved from

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Randall Kramer

Juli Plant Grainger Professor Emeritus of Global Environmental Health

Before coming to Duke in 1988, he was on the faculty at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He has held visiting positions at IUCN--The World Conservation Union, the Economic Growth Center at Yale University, and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank, World Health Organization and other international organizations. He was named Duke University's Scholar Teacher of the Year in 2004.

Kramer's research is focused on the economics of ecosystem services and on global environmental health. He is currently conducting a study on the effects of human land use decisions on biodiversity, infectious disease transmission and human health in rural Madagascar. Recent research projects have used decision analysis and implementation science to evaluate the health, social and environmental impacts of alternative malaria control strategies in East Africa. He has also conducted research on health systems strengthening, economic valuation of lives saved from air pollution reduction. and the role of ecosystems services in protecting human health.

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