When it comes to consumer preferences for electric or gas equipment and appliances in homes, there is no simple answer. However, electric tends to have an edge over gas.
According to a report from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Washington, D.C., new and potential homeowners have several factors to consider when building high-performance homes, including the type of energy source or fuel they want to use.
“This factor may be predetermined based on what’s available within their jurisdiction,” according to the NAHB. “Consumer preferences may also differ based upon the intended use for the energy source.”
In research conducted by the NAHB for its “What Home Buyers Really Want, 2021 Edition,” the results showed that, when it comes to heating and cooling systems, 51% of consumers prefer electric, while 33% prefer gas.
However, when it comes to cooking, 51% of consumers prefer gas, while 39% prefer electric.
In terms of water-heating systems, preference tends to be split (with a slight edge toward electric), with 45% of consumers preferring electric, 40% preferring gas and 15% with no preference.
While these percentages reflect national trends in general, the report noted that percentages can differ significantly based on the various geographic regions of the country.
For example, 75% of consumers in the East South-Central, 65% in the West South-Central and 61% in the South Atlantic regions prefer electric over gas for heating and cooling. In New England, the Mid-Atlantic and the East North-Central regions, preferences tend to be a bit more evenly split between the two.
When it comes to cooking, 59% of consumers in the East South-Central, 49% in the South Atlantic and 48% in the West South-Central regions prefer electric, while 68% of consumers in the Mid-Atlantic, 62% in the Mountain and 59% in the New England regions prefer gas.
And, in terms of preferences for water heating systems, 58% of consumers in the East South-Central, 53% in the West South-Central, and 53% in the South Atlantic regions prefer electric, while 57% in the Mountain, 55% in the Mid-Atlantic and 52% in the East North-Central regions prefer gas.
“The biggest factors contributing to respondents’ preferences, regardless of region or system (air heating/cooling versus water heating), are money savings and reliability, which may be important topics of discussion for builders to have with prospective buyers,” the NAHB said. “Other important factors contributing to energy-source preference include availability of sources where they live, as well as how the fuel type impacts safety and air quality in the home.”