For politicians, electrical engineers and journalists, energy efficiency and renewable energy are hot topics, but what thinks the consumer about these issues? A new study tries to find out, how French, English, German and American perceive energy efficiency.
The survey had been administered online between 9 and 19 July 2011. Representative samples of 4000 people from each of the four countries filled in the survey via the Harris Interactive access panel. The representative samples encompassed 1000 people in France, 1000 people in Germany, 1000 people in Great Britain and 1000 people in the USA. Quotas and readjustments were applied to the variables sex, age and profession of the person interviewed.
According to Rexel, the results of this first investigation show that energy efficiency is at the heart of the public’s concerns:
- Nearly nine out of ten citizens view energy efficiency as an “important” issue. Consumers consider themselves responsible for electrical efficiency and its promotion, but recognise that they only have a superficial understanding of the existing measures in place to encourage it.
- From small changes in everyday habits to buying eco-friendly fittings, households are committed to the issue. For example: 80% of French people purchase low energy light bulbs and 72% use multi-sockets with switches.
- The issue of energy efficiency also appears to be inextricably linked to financial considerations. Consumers are keen to invest in order to reduce their electricity bills as long as they can measure the impact and see the return on their investment.
- Distributors of electrical products have an important role to play in the promotion of electrical efficiency (according to 83% of French people).
“This survey shows that we are in the process of moving towards a new energy model. As a market leader, Rexel is particularly involved in accelerating change, helping clients to find eco-efficient solutions and continuing to play a driving role in energy efficiency issues within the electrical sector”, says Jean Charles Pauze, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Rexel.
Respondents from all four countries are in agreement that the subject of energy efficiency is an important issue: between 86% and 95% of respondents judge the subject to be “important”, and nearly two-thirds consider it to be “very important”. However, although citizens are aware of energy efficiency issues and believe they are informed about the measures in place in their country, their knowledge is actually somewhat superficial. In France, four people in five claim to have heard about the “eco Prêt à Taux Zéro” scheme but only 45% know exactly what it is. Similarly, in France, 72% of respondents have heard of the new Low Energy Construction Standard (bâtiments de basse consommation, BBC), but 31% of them don’t know exactly what it is.
Respondents outlined their expectations in terms of information that they need to receive: existing financial and legal incentives (for 27% of French and 35% of British), electricity consumption monitoring (23% of French and 28% of Germans) and development of new technologies (for 28% of French and 26% of Germans).
As far as fittings are concerned, 88% of French people prefer to use low energy fittings, 53% would be ready to install movement captors to turn lights off when nobody is in the room (or have already done so) and 42% would consider installing an eco-efficient heating system.
Respondents say they would be willing to make efforts in three areas to improve their energy efficiency: efforts in terms of time (76% in France, 82% in the UK), investment in equipment that is more expensive to buy but with long-term savings (69% in France, 78% in the USA) or giving up certain comforts (71% in the UK, 61% in France, 52% in the USA). Respondents were very aware of their budgets and so tended to be torn between spending less in the short term and making investments that would reduce energy costs in the short and medium term.