Consumers fail to ace home energy efficiency quiz

The energy industry is always attempting to find ways to make homeowners more aware of ways in which they can generate savings in their monthly utility bills. Many current homeowners have been living a certain way for many decades and they may not even be aware that their actions could be unnecessarily boosting their energy consumption.

This explains why initiatives like the one we detailed yesterday – the drive-by energy assessment – could be invaluable in helping homeowners to better understand how their actions directly affect their monthly bills.

But, before improvements can be made, industry experts must first be aware of where gaps in homeowners' knowledge exist. With that in mind, nonprofit energy efficiency advocate SmartPower sponsored an Earth Day quiz that showed homeowners have many of the same problems when it comes to being aware of even the most basic tenets of home energy efficiency.

For example, when consumers were asked where houses lost the most energy – plumbing, windows and doors, ducts or ceilings, walls and floors – only 10 percent correctly said that the last item in the list is the largest drain on energy. Meanwhile, 70 percent of consumers answered that windows and doors are the biggest culprits.

The danger of this incorrect knowledge is that many homeowners may be ignoring walls, floors and ceilings when they try to make their homes more energy efficient. Ultimately, these resources could be wasted.

"This is alarming, as houses are an even larger source of carbon dioxide than cars – another commonly missed quiz question – making it extremely important that homeowners understand not only how much energy their homes are wasting, but also where they are wasting energy," SmartPower CEO Brian Keane told The Huffington Post.

Tri-State consumers who work with a D.C. energy inspector can gain the knowledge they need to make savvy home reforms, including improving their heating and insulation.