Americans Have the Will but Need Experts to Show the Way to Energy Efficiency

Certain aspects of an energy-efficient future hinge on facility owners’ compliance and proactivity with their habits and devices, such as smart meters. However, some experts find it hard to make their case with such an indefinite variable as people who mean well but may lack the knowledge to do their part.

Electrical distributor Rexel announced the findings from an international survey that may offer some guidance in that area and aid in determining just how effective energy-efficiency tactics could be.

The survey gets to the bottom of the question of whether people actually care about energy efficiency. According to the results, 95 percent of Americans who responded stated it is an important issue.

The survey also found that Americans know they have a stake in energy efficiency and that they are at the wheel. Respondents reported they have already made changes to their lifestyle and habits for the sake of lowering their energy consumption. Fifty-four percent reported some loss of control, however, when it comes to upfront costs associated with energy-efficient devices. Americans base energy-efficiency investment decisions on measurable returns.

According to the survey, American respondents claimed to be informed about the measures the United States is taking to become more energy-efficient; however, the study tested that knowledge with some questions about the incandescent lamp phase-out. Three out of four respondents claimed to know about the measure, but only 46 percent claimed to know the details, revealing an opportunity for electrical contractors who communicate with facilities’ owners to provide clarification on some of these misunderstandings.

As an international survey, however, the results provide a platform to compare the United States with France, England and Germany. While many Americans boasted knowledge of energy-efficiency matters and 89 percent actively pay attention to their energy consumption, far fewer American respondents have taken steps to become more energy-efficient when compared with European counterparts.

Chris Hartman, CEO of Rexel Holdings USA, said the survey paints a bigger picture of the future electrical industry.

“Tomorrow’s world should consume less, and electricity will have a prominent position among energy uses,” he said. “With the development of renewable energy, home automation and the convergence of thermal, digital and electrical worlds, everything points to electricity being the main source of energy for tomorrow. This survey shows that we are moving toward a new energy model.”

More relevant to U.S. contractors, the survey reveals interesting statistics that indicate the role they can play in their relationships with home and facility owners. American respondents stated they would be motivated to improve their energy efficiency if they were able to easily measure their savings. They also reported access to financial subsidies could persuade them to invest in energy efficiency. Furthermore, 78 percent of respondents stated investment in equipment that would pay for itself in savings over a shorter time would be an incentive. Finally, a staggering 89 percent confessed they felt they might lack information for practical steps they can take toward improving their energy efficiency.

Electrical contractors can help assuage these concerns, and the Rexel study casts another light on energy efficiency as an accessible market.

About the Author

Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson is editor—digital for ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine. Reach him at

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