Energy efficiency – the trend is everywhere. From large iconic buildings like the Empire State Building undergoing a $500 million energy-efficient retrofit to everyday consumers switching to CFLs. However, a new survey published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveals that the vast majority of Americans do not know the best way to save money on energy costs.

 A total of 505 consumers were surveyed and when asked what was the single most effective thing that they could do to conserve energy, nearly 40 percent of Americans named one of the following three measures: turn off lights, drive less/bike/use public transportation, or change the setting on the thermostat. If you think that those surveyed were spot on with these answers, you’re wrong.

The best answer to this question would actually be to insulate the house, purchase more energy-efficient appliances, and drive a more energy-efficient vehicle. These three things have a greater effect on energy consumption than turning off the lights, adjusting the thermostat, and driving less.

There are some savvy consumers out there, though. Two percent of respondents said insulating their home was the best way to increase energy efficiency while 3.2 percent responded that efficient appliances were the single most important thing they could do, and another 2.8 percent touched on the fuel-efficient vehicle answer.

So less than 10 percent of those surveyed knew the changes that they need to make to reduce their energy consumption and ultimately save on energy costs. After reading through the results of this survey, it is obvious that most American consumers need a primer on energy efficiency.

For more information, you can read the entire survey online: Public perceptions of energy consumption and savings.

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