Maybe post-tax deadline some of us have had a closer look at our household budget. Something that should be revealed for many us over the past few years is a recent shift in where our money goes. Since 2009, Consumer expenditures for home energy (electricity, natural gas and fuel oil and other fuels) has matched expenditures on gasoline. This comes from a March report from the Consumers Federation of America titled Public Attitudes toward Energy Efficiency and Appliance standards: Consumers see the Benifits and support the standards.
The survey from the organization that has researched consumer opinion of auto and fuel usage over the years has discovered that we have interest in improving the appliances we use in the home for the same reasons we have concerns for fuel efficiency for vehicles. Energy Efficiency and the drain on our household budget is part of it but so is dependency on imported oil. It has been proven with cars that we will invest for the long term if the paybacks are reasonable and now the same goes for appliances in our houses.
As we have seen the price of oil swaying in the breeze of political and economic instability, the cost of heating fuels has not done the same, yet. More and more these costs are becoming intertwined. When we try and get away from our dependence on foreign oil by moving to electric vehicles, what demands will be placed on our grid? What an opportunity to reduce our dependence on oil by reducing our load on the home.
The survey focuses on appliances. This is a good start, but misses the importance of the interaction with the home itself. We have written about LED lighting and the need for better appliance standards, but the big driver in all of this is the building envelope, and for some there are greater gains in fixing the building before investing in the appliances in them.
The survey is a call to arms for policy makers since homeowners have spoken. Increasing efficiency requirements for appliances is a good place to start. Let’s take it one step further make sure our houses are in order for those appliances to do their best.