Sixty percent of Americans say they would be willing to participate in a program where they voluntarily adjust their cooling system in the summer months (by a few degrees and for no more than a few hours), according to a new survey from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC), a nonprofit organization that studies Americans’ energy-related behaviors, interests and values.
However, the new survey – the second installment in SECC’s recently launched Smart Energy Snapshot Series – found noticeably less interest in programs where electricity providers automatically adjust consumers’ thermostats. Thirty-one percent of respondents stated that they would participate in this type of program for a discount or cash incentive.
In recent months, electricity providers and consumers have battled record-setting heat across the United States. The “Cooling High Summer Electric Bills” survey, which was fielded to 1,516 consumers in August, investigated how Americans are cooling their homes (central AC, heat pumps, fans, etc.), which types of thermostats they are using, whether they are actively monitoring their cooling systems and their openness to demand response programs.
While the majority of all respondents said they are willing to participate in a voluntary demand response program, the survey found even greater support for demand response among the 78 percent of consumers who say that they are actively monitoring their cooling systems.
Fifty-eight percent of these consumers view their electricity providers positively for offering demand response programs (compared to 51 percent of the general population), and 65 percent said that they are willing to participate in a voluntary demand response program. Only 18 percent of these consumers rejected participating in any kind of demand response program, compared to about one-quarter of the general population.
Finally, when it comes to how consumers are cooling their homes, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of respondents reported using a central air conditioner, and 24 percent said that they are using a window AC unit. Only six percent of the nationally representative sample said that they are currently using a ducted, air-source heat pump, despite this being a highly efficient option for cooling a home.
An infographic highlighting some of the key figures from the “Cooling High Summer Electric Bills” survey can be viewed here, and a slide deck with the full survey findings is available exclusively for SECC’s membership here.
The Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to learn the wants and needs of energy consumers in North America, encourages the collaborative sharing of best practices in consumer engagement among industry stakeholders, and educates the public about the benefits of smart energy and energy technology. To learn more, visit www.smartenergycc.org or follow our Company Page on LinkedIn.