Consumers Demand Energy Efficiency–and are Willing to Pay for It

Recent surveys show that an energy-efficient home is valuable to consumers. We’ll break down which features they want most, too.

While climate-change-driven disasters accumulate and the world’s attention focuses on solutions, energy efficient buildings are increasingly important to homeowners, renters and landlords. In the past, many consumers talked about how much they would like to own an energy efficient home, but they didn’t always want to pay for the features and systems that could increase their home’s performance. 

Times have changed. The climate continues to change. A new sense of urgency can be felt among consumers and builders. Local, state and federal government policies and programs in the form of mandates and financial incentives contribute to this moment when implementing energy efficient improvements has heightened importance. 

Consumers Demand Energy Efficiency

In surveys of consumers, building professionals and manufacturers, energy issues are in the forefront of people’s minds. 

How important is energy efficiency in your home to you

The majority of consumers surveyed by Green Builder said energy efficiency is very important or somewhat important to them. Almost none said energy efficiency is not at all important. Source: COGNITION Smart Data

When asked if energy efficient upgrades were worth the money, the majority of every generation said they are worth it for the long-term savings. 

Distribution of Responses for Column 6 Across different generations

Millennials were by far the most likely to say that energy upgrades are worth the expense, followed by the “traditionalist” generation, those born between 1927 and 1945. Source: COGNITION Smart Data

Green Builder asked consumers to rank the energy-efficient upgrades that they believe are the most important and valuable to make in their homes or in the next home they purchase. The top items are upgraded windows, upgraded insulation, upgraded roof, and smart thermostat.


Credit: Cognition Smart Data


Energy upgrades that ranked the lowest among the top 10 include heat pump water heaters, a relatively new technology that some consumers may not be familiar with. Heat pump HVAC systems were ranked next to the lowest, possibly because of the continued misconception that they don’t work as well in colder climates. 

Consumers need to continually balance budget with effectiveness, which impacts their opinions about energy upgrades, yet an upgraded roof and a solar system, which are both relatively expensive, ranked high on consumer’s preferences for energy upgrades.

Download the Energy Insights Report for a deeper understanding of energy efficiency and other topics from building industry pros and consumers.