Industries Energy/Green

Poll finds Virginians want to cut energy costs

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A statewide survey finds that a majority of Virginia residents are concerned about cutting their energy expenses.

The survey by Virginia Energy Sense, an energy efficiency education program managed by the State Corporation Commission, found that 40 percent of respondents said they are willing to change their routines to reduce energy consumption.

Ninety percent of respondents said they believe saving energy is important, with nearly 70 percent calling it “very important.” More than 80 percent of respondents are willing to save energy to reduce their energy bills and two-thirds believe saving energy is a vital step in protecting the environment.  

“Virginians are making a strong effort to curb their energy use, but this survey shows that the majority of residents want to learn and do more," Andy Farmer, the manager of the Virginia Energy Sense Program, said in a statement. "Fortunately, there are a range of things for any budget that households can do to save energy, from changing habits and using low-cost gadgets that make conservation simple, to energy audits and improvements that better insulate the home." 

More than half of survey respondents said they are taking basic steps to save energy, including converting to energy efficient light bulbs and powering off electronic devices.

Four in 10 respondents say they have caulked, sealed air leaks and installed a programmable thermostat. Respondents in the age group 35-54 are most likely to already be taking action, while those aged 18-34 indicate the highest interest in doing more in the next year.

Some 70 percent of respondents say they are highly interested in learning more about ways to save energy, according to the poll, with greatest interest in the Newport News and Norfolk area.

Sixty-five percent do not feel knowledgeable about energy efficiency, however, believing  it is too expensive for them to address or they don't have enough time to do so.

Nonetheless, 48 percent of respondents said they are willing to spend more than $100 annually on energy-saving investments. In Northern Virginia, 28 percent said they would invest between $100 and $500 annually in energy-efficient home improvements. One quarter of homeowners in Central Virginia are willing to invest more than $500, which was top among regions.

The mission of Virginia Energy Sense is to help residents better understand their energy use and to educate them on ways to be more efficient. Virginia has set a goal to reduce energy consumption by 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2022.

The research was conducted by KRC Research via a statewide telephone survey from Feb. 15-21 among Virginia adults age 18 or older. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

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