Green Terms Can Confuse Consumers

by | Nov 26, 2007

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A green gap exists around terms such as energy efficiency, energy conservation, demand response, smart energy and clean energy, and customers’ understanding, acceptance and perceptions of value around those terms, according to an EcoPinion survey from EcoAlign, a new marketing agency launched by the Distributed Energy Financial Group. The green gap in communications is contributing to a growing misalignment between customers’ stated intentions, e.g., their desire to be more green or frugal with energy consumption, and their actual behavior.

According to the survey (download here), most consumers can’t articulate the difference between the phrases “energy conservation” and “energy efficiency,” while only 13 percent of respondents thinking energy efficiency has to do with saving money or cutting down on fuel costs.

Other findings:

  • To conserve energy, a quarter of consumers try to buy energy efficient products, and 19 percent lower their thermostats, with women more likely to take actions around conserving energy.
  • Only about one third, 30%, of Americans understand the term “smart energy” and about the same amount, 32%, say they are not doing enough in terms of “smart energy.”
  • One third of respondents do not know what “clean energy” signifies.
  • 41% of consumers polled don’t know what “demand response” is, but nonetheless find it un-popular (44%), annoying (42%) and un-helpful (40%).

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