Opinion Survey Finds Gap between the Talk and the Walk

A recent EcoPinion survey confirms that consumers generally have positive associations with commonly used terms, such as smart grid, renewable energy, and conservation; however, they do not understand their meaning and individual consumers perceive little value or personal relevance. As a result, the green gap between stated intentions and purchasing behavior still exists.

"Consumers understand the importance of conservation and clean energy on an intellectual and rational level but have not moved this awareness into action," stated Andrea Fabbri, EcoAlign chief operating officer and chief marketing officer. The survey was sponsored by the company, a strategic marketing firm focused on energy and environment.

Findings from the survey include:

  • American consumers have positive associations with terms such as energy conservation and clean energy, using one-word associations such as "good, important and necessary."
  • With the exception of smart energy, consumer understanding of the terms tested decreased over the past two years. Less than one-third of consumers could differentiate between energy conservation and energy efficiency.
  • Some industry terms should not be used for external communications, including demand response and peak pricing.
  • Thirty-one percent of Americans believe that the "environment" will benefit the most from smart grid investments. On the other hand, consumers thought that government, residential consumers and utilities would benefit the least from smart grid investments.
  • When asked about motivations to use new energy technologies or participate in energy programs enabled by smart grid, approximately two-thirds of Americans describe themselves as "cost-conscious savers" or "value buyers."
  • There is a huge range in the level of consumer understanding about the terms and concepts for alternative billing and payment options.
  • Most consumers have a neutral perception of value connected to alternative billing and payment options.
A copy of the full report is available at no charge at www.ecoalign.com.

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