But some are not exactly rushing out to make these large investments. According to a recent survey of 1,400 households by Clean Edge (a marketing research firm) and SolarCity (a leading solar energy vendor), solar power was identified by nearly half of all households as the most important energy source for America’s future. Wind-power was second, and natural gas third. Considering the ease of use of passive solar power at a residential level, this isn’t surprising.
It seems that this trend is largely motivated by fiscal responsibility, rather than environmentalism. Of the homeowners surveyed, 82% of them cited “saving money” as the reason to support sustainable energy, while only 34% cited “reducing environmental impact”. So while the idea of renewable energy sources in America’s future is appealing to homeowners, it’s because of the long-term savings these sources will provide. This makes sense, very few Americans would invest in anything if it didn’t provide them with a personal benefit.
Even though 87% of homeowners agree it’s important, the majority of them are not rushing out to spend hard earned money on energy efficiency upgrades. The most popular energy efficient purchases planned for this year LED light bulbs and smart thermostats, which are relatively inexpensive. A smaller percentage of respondents claimed that they were planning on big-ticket purchases like photovoltaic panels, electric vehicles or geothermal heat pumps. Even hybrid vehicles are less popular than they were during last year’s report, but that’s probably due to the recent drop in oil prices. Experts seem to believe that hybrid and electric vehicles are very much here to stay.
The majority of all respondents said that they’ll support “federal incentives” for wind and solar energy purchases, regardless of their political affiliation. And while saving money is still the biggest motivator for the households surveyed, 65% of them said that they “consider or investigate” the environmental impact of their purchases.
While homeowners are still motivated by monetary savings, it’s encouraging to see that they’re also considering long-term sustainability and environmental impact, and actually have an opinion on how to achieve that renewable energy goal. This tells us that Americans are concerned about our energy future, and that as long as sustainable energy is also cost-effective, it will be embraced. According to this survey, solar energy is the next big thing, America!