Poll: Americans need incentives to buy green
A national poll released Tuesday revealed new incentives will be needed to persuade Americans to make energy-efficient improvements to their homes.
Beginning this year, tax incentives that once rewarded Americans for energy-efficient improvements have been slashed. For many Americans, the survey found, those incentives were a prime reason for making such improvements as replacing windows, adding insulation and buying energy-efficient appliances.
The national poll, one of four conducted each year by Shelton Group, examined how consumers are saving electricity and why. The survey found almost one-quarter (23%) of Americans who made energy-efficient improvements said they’d received a rebate or financial incentive. Of those, most said they’d received either a utility rebate (41%) or a federal tax incentive (39%).
A full 25% of respondents said they wouldn’t have acted without the incentive, and another 7% said the incentive encouraged them to pay slightly more for a higher-efficiency model.
"That means at a minimum, about one-third of Americans who made their homes more energy efficient would likely not have done so if it weren’t for the incentives," said Suzanne Shelton, president of Shelton Group.
The new tax law chops incentives from 30% to 10% of costs for many improvements — reducing the maximum cumulative credit from $1,500 to $500. In addition, there are now lower caps such as $200 for energy-efficient windows, compared with $1,500 in credits before.
"That means utilities, manufacturers and retailers are going to have to step up their incentives — and get a lot more creative and targeted in marketing energy efficiency," Shelton said.
Among the survey’s other findings:
Thirty percent of Americans who have undertaken improvements said they haven’t seen the bill reduction they’d expected. Most said this was because their utility rates had gone up, but 44% said that they likely needed to make more improvements. In fact, the survey found that the number of improvements completed is strongly correlated with achieving the expected savings. The tipping point: about five improvements.
"This isn’t an easy process. Doing one or even two things isn’t going to get consumers the savings they expect," Shelton said. "Making homes energy efficient is a multi-step process."
There is significant interest in time-of-use billing plans, smart meters and online energy information management systems.
Asked what specifically they’ve done to save energy, the largest percentages of Americans had replaced most incandescent bulbs with CFLs (63% of homeowners and 61% of renters), added sealing/caulking/weather-stripping (55% of homeowners and 29% of renters), purchased Energy Star appliances (49% homeowners and 38% renters) or added insulation (36% owners and 27% renters).
Delta Power Equipment buys Delta from Stanley
Delta Power Equipment Corp. announced today that its deal to purchase the DELTA brand of woodworking equipment and machinery from Stanley Black & Decker closed Feb. 4, as expected.
Delta also announced Alicia Hicks has been named marketing manager for the organization. Additional recruiting is under way.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Chang Type Industrial Co., a Taiwan-based manufacturing company, Delta Power Equipment Corp. is based in Anderson, S.C. This new location will continue the Made in the USA tradition of designing, manufacturing and marketing Unisaw radial arm saws and Biesemeyer accessories.
“We are right on track with our transition plan and expect to begin moving machinery and equipment from the Jackson, Tenn., location very soon,” said Bryan Whiffen, president and CEO.
The Anderson facility is expected to be fully operational in April.
BASF responds to green-marketing confusion
Florham Park, N.J.-based BASF launched its SELECT Eco-Label Manager, a database created to manage the abundance of eco-labels, environmental claims, directories and ratings systems.
SELECT is an acronym for sustainability, eco-labeling and environmental certification tracking. The service allows the user to search, analyze and compare these programs in a structured format.
"The demand for environmentally preferable products is rapidly evolving and influencing purchasing decisions along entire supply chains,” said Pat Meyer, Senior Product Steward and program leader at BASF. “These purchasing requirements have spawned hundreds of eco-labels and programs from the federal government, large retailers, trade associations and third-party organizations, leading to a lot of confusion.”
The tool includes 100 programs for review, primarily associated with North America, but is continuing to add programs from all regions globally. Examples include Built Green Canada, a residential construction checklist and energy rating system; USGBC LEED programs, and the Green Guides, a set of guidelines established by the Federal Trade Commission to help manufacturers make clear and substantiated marketing claims.
Currently, the tool is available to all BASF employees and preferred BASF customers, stakeholders, the company said.