Americans Skipping Green Home Retrofits

Are Americans just not that interested right now in doing energy efficiency upgrades to their homes? A sobering survey released by ServiceMagic, a website connecting consumers with prescreened, customer-rated service professionals, seems to indicate so. This seems to even be the case in the face of numerous tax credits for things like better appliances and renewable energy installations.

The survey, part of ServiceMagic’s Q2 2010 Home Remodeling and Repair Index, found that while 59 percent of Americans considered green alternatives for their home improvement projects in the last quarter, only 19 percent of homeowners surveyed were motivated to conduct home improvement projects because of tax credits. Window energy efficiency was the leading choice among those who did do green retrofits, with 83 percent of those surveyed investing in windows for energy reasons with cost saving from increased energy efficiency being the top motivation.


image via RedFerret

Moving beyond those who did window upgrades, ServiceMagic found that of those who did not consider green alternatives, 50 percent were not aware of them, while 27 percent did not like the green product choices and 16 percent found the cost of green products outweighed the benefits. Moreover, less than 10 percent of homeowners requested green or energy efficient alternatives for their home improvement projects, as reported by 62 percent of service professionals.

“A surprising trend this quarter is what we are learning about consumer purchasing behavior around green and energy efficiency,” said Craig Smith, CEO for ServiceMagic, in a statement. “While we show a fairly decent level of awareness for green and energy efficient alternatives, it isn’t translating to action beyond window projects.”

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.


  • Reply August 17, 2010

    Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

    I find the number that nearly 50% are unaware. I would love to see a study explaining that figure. Could it be that we have such a large group who do not care to ask? Maybe apathy plays a larger role in our lives than it should. Also, the cost factor is one that gets me. I implemented green choices on my own home, which cost me the same or less than a standard choice. While other green choices do cost more, I find that I can work up to adding them eventually.

    There could be another set of factors at play. With budgets tight, homeowners who are planning remodeling projects may be undertaking these tasks themselves. This DIY crowd could be undertaking green projects, while those hiring a professional are less apt to find the healthier/ energy efficient choice. I know that is the route that I take.

    • Reply August 17, 2010

      Nino Marchetti

      Thank you for your comments on this story. Nice to have some additional insight.

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