Last week, the results of a recent survey commissioned by San Francisco-based solar leasing powerhouse SunRun were released. The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive last August with 2,334 American adults, addresses one whopper of an, err, elephant in the room: Those who plan to vote for Mitt Romney in the upcoming presidential election are more likely to have greener homes than supporters of President Obama.
This all may seem wildly contradictory to prevailing GOP attitudes towards environmental issues — climate change denial or questions, indifference when it comes to clean energy, and beyond — but when it comes down to it, 64 percent of Romney-supporting respondents claimed to have embarked on home greening projects such as installing double-paned windows and low-flow toilets (don’t let Rand Paul catch wind of this last one) over the last five years. Fifty-eight percent of blue-minded homeowners invested in similar, energy- and water-conserving home improvements.
The reason that Republican voters show more love towards green home improvement projects has little to do with the stewardship of the Earth and its precious resources. Rather, it’s all about saving cash.
Eighty-four percent of respondents who plan on voting for Obama said that they’ve made green changes around their homes to cut utility expenses and save money. Similarly, 87 percent of Romney-ites were driven to do things like buy energy-efficient appliances or install a smart thermostat by the lure of financial savings. However, of those polled, 27 percent of Romney supporters claimed that they greened their homes for environmental reasons — 33 percent say they believe in global warming — in addition to the money-saving benefits. On the other hand, 58 percent of Obama backers surveyed in the SunRun poll said they made changes around their homes for the good of the planet in addition to the appeal of lower of utility bills.
Additionally, Romney supporters were also more likely to have installed residential solar systems in the last five years than Obama supporters (a paltry 3 percent vs. 2 percent). Twenty-seven percent of respondents said they would be interested in installing a solar system in the future.
SunRun Consumer Educator Susan Wise tells the San Francisco Chronicle: "It's now possible for money-saving measures to be good for the environment. So whether or not the primary motivation is environmental, we're getting to a place where it makes the most sense anyway.”
Well, that’s encouraging. Adds SunRun president and co-founder Lynn Jurich in a news release issued by the company:
This data shows us that a new shade of green is emerging, and it’s not dominated by any particular side of the political spectrum. Americans are motivated by savings, and now there are environmental choices that are also the smartest choices for your bank account. I call this Pocketbook Environmentalism. People may like that something is good for the environment, but they’re not willing to pay more for it.
Outside of green home improvements, the survey found that 94 percent of Obama supporters were likely to have embraced various eco-friendly lifestyle changes — recycling more aggressively, eating organic/natural foods, etc. — over the past five years, compared to 88 percent of Romney supporters.
Click here for more a survey results snapshot.
Related green living story on MNN: How to save energy with home improvements
MNN tease illustration of house: Shutterstock