NC Voters Embrace Energy Efficiency Solutions

2012 Energy Issues Public Opinion Poll

A 2012 energy issues poll found a vast majority of North Carolina voters are embracing energy efficiency efforts to save on household expenses. Of the 703 registered voters who were surveyed, 87.7 percent said they supported making energy efficiency efforts to meet North Carolina’s growing energy and electricity needs. Fallon Research conducted the statewide survey for the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA).

$82.8 Million in Energy Savings

Voters’ attitudes on energy efficiency align with a statewide push to reduce energy usage and keep money in taxpayers’ pockets. In the last fiscal year, North Carolina’s Utility Savings Initiative saved the state’s taxpayers more than $82.8 million, according to a report by the North Carolina Energy Office.

This program helps state agencies, the University of North Carolina system, the state’s community colleges, public schools and county and municipal governments reduce their use of energy, water and other utilities. Since the Utility Savings Initiative was launched in 2003, the state has avoided more than $417 million while investing $11.5 million into utility savings improvements in North Carolina government and university facilities.

Statewide Survey

NCSEA’s statewide public opinion poll was conducted March 26-29, 2012, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.69 percentage points. North Carolina voters were surveyed via landline and cellular phone numbers on their support or opposition to a number of energy-related questions.

Fallon Research is a polling and communications firm that has previously worked with numerous groups in North Carolina, including the NC Realtors Association, NC Home Builders Association and Triangle Transit Authority, in addition to political candidates and independent expenditure groups across the nation.

“Our poll results are very revealing. The results show that amidst our economic recovery, an overwhelming 88% of North Carolinians spent money on ways to save energy last year. This is supported by results showing North Carolinians want to gain more control over their monthly energy bills,” said Ivan Urlaub, NCSEA Executive Director. “We are seeing and hearing the same across the state – consumer awareness of how to save money by saving energy is rising. This is a reasonable market response to the rise in utility rates and bills over the past five years. The market for energy efficiency solutions has really taken off in North Carolina, and we expect to see continued strong job growth and investments in North Carolina’s energy efficiency industry throughout the remainder of this decade as rates and bills rise further to pay for more than $20 billion of new power plants and increasing fuel costs.”

Energy Efficiency Poll Results

This is the second consecutive year, NCSEA has polled North Carolina voters to gauge consumer attitudes on energy issues. Last week, NCSEA released a portion of its poll results about renewable energy sources and the cost of energy. Click here to see those results.

  • Amidst the slow recovery from the recession, more than 88 percent of respondents spent money to become more energy efficient last year, more than 21 percent of respondents to the poll spent more than $1,000 last year on ways to save energy.
  • Only 4 percent of respondents used a utility program for some or all of their improvements, while much larger 62 percent of respondents entirely self-financed their efficiency improvements. More than 19 percent used a combination of both. This is staggering, given our state offers no energy efficiency tax credits.
  • 87.7 percent support energy efficiency, such as installing energy saving light bulbs, programmable thermostats or Energy Star-certified appliances
  • 88 percent have taken steps (in the past year) to make their homes more energy efficient to reduce usage and monthly bills
  • 70.9 percent used personal/family funds to pay for energy efficiency improvements and 21.5 percent used a combination of personal or family funds and an energy efficiency program offered by their utility. The chart below shows a breakdown of respondents by partisan registration.