International barometer for energy efficiency

On 14 October 2011, Harris Interactive published an international study on energy efficiency commissioned by Rexel. In the US, France, Germany and the UK, this issue has become a concern not just for professionals but also for all users.

92% of French respondents think that energy efficiency is an important issue, 47% of them seeing it as very important. Most of them have heard of the three measures coming up in the survey, i.e. the ban on incandescent light bulbs, the zero-rate eco-loan and new low-energy building standard (in French BBC for bâtiment basse consommation), although they could not precisely define energy efficiency. Similarly, 88% of them say that they care about how much energy they use, but few of them actually take simple steps on a daily basis to save energy, such as turning the heat down or switching off the television instead of putting it on standby. Respondents from other countries, with Germany at the top, are more prone to take action than their French counterparts.

While according to 66% of the people surveyed in France financial concerns seem to be a major driver for change towards energy efficiency (following environmental issues, the primary concern for 94% of them), paradoxically, the cost issue also explains why energy efficiency is not thriving yet: 45% of French respondents think that energy efficient products are too expensive, and 42% that financial incentives are not up to par. Only 18% of them (compared with 33% in other countries) are willing to pay for solutions that could help them save energy in the long run. While the study shows that 91% think that they, rather than government, should initiate efforts to save energy, it also suggests that a lack of awareness of the current government schemes is largely responsible for the slow pace of energy transition: 27% of respondents wish to be provided with information on financial incentives and legislative measures regarding energy efficiency.