Low knowledge of energy saving schemes in Australia
Sydney, 03 November 2010
A major new study released by Connection Research shows that consumers have very little knowledge of energy saving schemes started by the government, or energy saving technologies in general. The report, Residential Energy Management in Australia 2010, is based on a survey of over 2700 households. The survey results show that most consumers are willing to participate in energy saving initiatives, but are unsure of where to begin.
“Householders these days are well aware of the rising cost of energy in coming years, and are very willing do whatever they need to reduce their energy consumption through conservation schemes run by the government,” says Max Philipson, Research Manager and co-author of the report. “Whether it is to save energy or just save money, people are keen to be involved in these schemes. But not many do so, because they don’t know enough about them.”
The need to save energy has resulted in many different government incentives offered to households to reduce their energy consumption, such as the Solar Panel rebate and the Insulation rebate. But the findings of the report show that information is lacking, and most householders don’t know where to begin. More than half of the respondents have not heard of energy standards or incentives such as Green Star Buildings ratings, NABERS ratings, or the Green Loans scheme.
Some of the more publicised energy reduction schemes are well known, but have low participation rates. This suggests that while residents might hear about energy saving schemes, they don’t know how to participate in them. Nearly a third of the respondents say that the biggest reason they don’t participate in energy saving schemes is that they don’t know enough about them.
Consumers also have little knowledge of many home saving features that are common in other western countries, such as Smart Meters and Time-of-Use Tariffs. The attempted Smart Meter roll out in Victoria did little to educate people, as two thirds of Victorian respondents still don’t know what smart metering is, and nearly half these have never even heard of it. Time-of-use tariffs, where a household pays different rates for their electricity depending on what time of day it is, are just as unfamiliar to Australians. Just over a third of respondents do not know what they are.
The report finds that most Australians rely on the government and their energy utility for most of their information regarding energy saving initiatives. After that, people would rather listen to the media. “The government needs to start educating people on the benefits of these schemes if it expects people to join,” Mr Philipson says. “The government and utilities are the experts here – they need to give their expert advice.
“With all the talk about energy management and reducing the carbon footprint in the last few years, people are unsure of the best way to do so. Too much talk and not enough action has resulted in a nation that is waiting for their government to act decisively, and tell them exactly what they need to do to save on energy costs.”
For more information about the Residential Energy Management in Australia report contact Cassandra Phillips on +61 2 9467 9833
Connection Research is an Australian market research and analysis company with a focus on corporate and consumer usage of sustainable and digital technologies. Its primary methodology is demand-side research, surveying consumers of technology about usage patterns, attitudes and plans. It operates across four practice areas: Green IT, Carbon and Compliance, Building Industry and Trades, and Community Sustainability.