How to Talk about Home Energy Upgrades

URL: http://aceee.org/research-report/b1701

It's not just about money. People invest in home energy upgrades for a variety of reasons. This report explores these motivations and unveils, based partly on a representative survey of nearly 2,000 homeowners, the best strategies for encouraging them to invest in energy efficiency. Includes a tip sheet.


People who invest in home energy upgrades want to save money on their utility bills, but they also want to improve their health, make their homes more comfortable, protect the environment, or mitigate climate change. In some cases, they are more likely to invest in upgrades when home energy assessors explain the non-financial benefits. 

The report shows that the framing of these messages matters. For example, the terms comfort or health may not motivate homeowners, but homeowners are motivated to get rid of cold drafts, remove mold, reduce allergy symptoms, and insulate against noise, among other issues.

The authors tested various framing options and found, for example that there was higher interest in home energy retrofits when the payback period was presented as a specific month and year in the future as opposed to as years-from-today. When no-brainer upgrades were removed from the list and replaced with stretch options (that had a lower savings to investment ratio than any other upgrades on the list), customers were more willing to consider investing in the more expensive upgrades.

Topics: Environment:, Energy efficiency
Location: US
Resource Type: training and toolkits, consumer research
Publisher: ACEEE
Date Last Updated: 2021-07-21 11:20:10

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