April 1, 2011 — Americans overwhelmingly believe that improving energy efficiency in home appliances is beneficial – especially in shrinking their electric bills – according to a March 8, 2011, survey released by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). The study also found that Americans strongly support the government’s appliance efficiency standards.
CFA’s national study, “Public Attitudes Toward Energy Efficiency and Appliance Efficiency Standards,” surveyed 1,006 adults in the United States from Jan. 12 to Jan.16 on their knowledge and opinion of appliance efficiency standards.
Q: Why Support Efficiency?
A: Lower Energy Bills.
The study revealed that reducing home energy bills is the largest driver of support for appliance efficiency and improved efficiency. In addition, most Americans are OK with paying more for a product when the payback for their investment comes within a few years.
According to the study, Americans believe that:
- Energy Efficiency Lowers Bills: While 96% believe improved appliance efficiency is important for lowering electric bills, 92% also believe it is important to reduce air pollution.
- Energy Efficiency Gives a Return on Investment: Even when appliance efficiency standards increase the price of a product, 79% are in favor of efficiency standards with a payback period of around three years.
- Appliances Should be More Energy Efficient: Overall, 95% of Americans think it is “beneficial for appliances like refrigerators, clothes washers and air conditioners to become more energy efficient.”
- Government Standards Help: Only about two-thirds of Americans are aware that the government requires certain types of new appliances to meet minimum energy standards. However, whether they know about current standards or not, nearly three-fourths of Americans support the government setting appliance efficiency standards.
Efficiency Standards: Putting Benefits into Consumers’ Pockets
The study comes in the midst of heated debate on Capitol Hill over current light bulb regulations – which mandate newly manufactured light bulbs to use less energy – and on the heels of a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate in February that, if passed, would improve efficiency standards on a variety of appliances. Improved appliance efficiency standards as proposed in this bill (INCAAA 2011, S. 398) would yield $43 billion in net economic savings to consumers through 2030, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
“Congress is in the thick of this question [on regulations]. At the same time, it’s clear that people want energy efficient home appliances,” CFA Director of Research and study author Mark Cooper told the Alliance. “Congress has the opportunity to deliver benefits right into consumers’ pocketbooks if it adopts higher standards for appliances and sticks with the higher standards for light bulbs.”