Study looks at who has energy-efficient homes

How green is your home? A new study reveals what kind of households are most likely to invest in and install energy-saving devices such as geothermal.

People from about 1,000 households each in 11 countries took part in a survey by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. They were asked whether they had installed or bought any top-rated energy-efficient appliances within the last 10 years; the number of energy-efficient light bulbs in their home; and whether they had double-glazing, thermal insulation of the walls or roof, heat thermostats, solar panels for heating or hot water, or ground-source heat pumps.

The results showed four main motivations for adopting energy-efficient measures in their homes:
• home ownership,
• income,
• social context, and
• household energy-conservation practices.

The analysis found that those who owned their homes and households with higher incomes are more likely to invest in clean-energy technologies than renters and low-income households.

Results also showed that people were more likely to invest in energy-efficient technology soon after moving into a new home. Investment patterns varied with age. Younger people were more likely to make large-scale investments, such as installing a heat pump. Older people were more likely to adopt lower-cost investments like energy-efficient light bulbs. The findings are published in Environmental Research Letters.

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