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Julie Cook Kitchener Apr 8, 2024 13:00 pm
Hi all,
Even with the growing climate crisis and the rising cost of living, it is still a challenge to convince homeowners to retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient. Thankfully, a new survey of 1,500 U.S. homeowners gives some insight as to the most effective ways to do that. If you are working in the areas of energy and behaviour change in the U.S. or Canada, you might find this useful. 
Here are four elements to consider:
The audience
Researchers from The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) conducted the study and found that the most likely homeowners to invest in retrofits were those whose household income was above $50,000 per year. Comprehensive home energy retrofits were simply too expensive for lower income residents, who require government subsidies in order for this option to be accessible to them. The moderate household income earners also live in large homes, are more educated, have lived in their homes for 6-10 years with no children at home, and they either already own or are considering owning an electric vehicle. According to the study, it is this demographic that should be focused on first.
The message
Any messages tailored to moderate income earners should focus on rebates and tax incentives, since financial, comfort, and health considerations were the strongest factors in their decisions to upgrade. These factors were on average rated as “important” or “very important” in the survey.
The strategies
Providing no-interest loans with $0 down has a significant effect on homeowners’ decisions to invest in comprehensive retrofits, more than rebates and tax credits on their own. Further, targeting behavioural initiatives toward homeowners who recently purchased a house or need to replace old equipment will also have a significant impact on the likelihood of a retrofit investment. A behavioural-based strategy that the researchers applied was to offer a number of packages to different demographics of homeowners to see what would be the most likely to influence them to invest. In social marketing terminology, we call this ‘segmentation’. 
The packages
The study found that packages focusing on upgrading home heating, hot water heating, and appliances were most attractive to homeowners. These specific items increased the appeal of packages by between 5 – 22%. Of course, tailoring packages to particular demographics is important, but it is helpful to know that these items are generally popular among moderate income homeowners in the U.S. 
If you would like to see the packages offered and the segmented audiences in more detail, please visit the following link