New Study Uncovers Favorability of Energy-Efficient Housing

Discover the sustainability trend that is expected to continue growing

By GREGG WALKER

An overwhelming majority of residential customers are placing a priority on energy-efficient housing. That, and more, was revealed in a new study commissioned by the Propane Education & Research Council and conducted by an independent third-party research firm, Harris Insights & Analytics LLC — also known as The Harris Poll.

The Propane Council sought to assess the consideration and demand for energy efficiency in residential projects. Results consisted of feedback from 2,200 U.S. residents who said they would soon buy, remodel, or build a home. We also received responses from 200 construction professionals on the same subject.

Customers are prioritizing high-performance homes, and they are willing to pay more, too.

There is a high consideration across audiences for the use of both energy-efficient appliances and high-performance homes. Notably, a large majority of residential audiences say it is a very high or somewhat high priority for their new or remodeled home to be energy efficient — 78 percent of residents remodeling a home, 87 percent of residents buying a home, and 89 percent of residents building a home.

When asked about adding a new appliance or replacing a current one, consideration for energy-efficient appliances was almost unanimous across all audiences, with 91 percent of residents buying and building a home, 92 percent of residents remodeling a home, and 95 percent of construction professionals expressing interest.

In addition to wanting high-performance homes, residential audiences expressed a willingness to pay more to make a home or remodeling project energy-efficient — 81 percent of customers remodeling a home, 88 percent of customers buying a home, and 96 percent of customers building a home. Among the three residential respondent categories, the average amount respondents were willing to pay fell between 25 and 38 percent.

Energy efficiency is commonly discussed between professionals and consumers.

Of the construction professionals surveyed, nine in 10 said that they are being asked about energy-efficient methods by residential customers. Moreover, nine in 10 also indicated that they proactively recommend energy-efficient construction methods. Only three percent said they are never asked about energy efficient methods.

And this trend is expected to continue. Three in 10 homebuilders say the demand for high-performance homes “increased significantly” in the last few years, while 65 percent expect demand to increase significantly over the next five to 20 years.

Customers reveal the reasons they would or would not consider an energy-efficient home.

Of the survey respondents who would consider energy-efficient construction, they revealed that cost savings or environmental impact were the driving factors. In fact, 55 percent of customers remodeling a home gave cost savings as their top reason for making energy efficiency a priority.

While customers remodeling a home were much more likely to point to cost savings as opposed to environmental concerns, residents building a home were split evenly between the two. Cost savings represented 46 percent of residents buying a home and 41 percent of residents building a home, and environmental impact represented 37 percent of residents buying a home and 36 percent of residents building a home. Other reasons, which represented small percentages of each respondent category, were better performance, being better for their neighborhood or community, or meeting state and federal energy-efficiency codes.

The survey also provided opportunities for respondents to answer in their own words, which we thought provided some unique insights for construction professionals. Of the respondents likely to consider energy-efficient construction or appliances, their comments included, “It is better for the environment and cost-effective in the long run for me.”

Those who were not likely to consider energy-efficient construction, on the other hand, typically said it was because of increased upfront costs or a belief that it is not practical for their situation. For example, one respondent that is building a home said, “The lot that I have bought is not solar-friendly (i.e. lots of trees, rain, and little sun).” Another respondent — this time a user remodeling a home — said, “It would add too much in extra expenses.”

Construction professionals who are well-versed in energy-efficient methods and appliances will set themselves up for success as more and more residential customers turn to high-performance home projects. Construction professionals can use this insight to inform future projects, and ensure that they choose the best methods and appliances for their projects. To learn more about energy-efficient appliances, visit Propane.com.

Gregg Walker is the director of external communications for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at gregg.walker@propane.com.

Leave a Reply