WASHINGTON, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ –
A new era of energy frugality is taking hold in the United States – even as the economy slowly recovers – according to a survey from the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions.
Businesses are forging the way by targeting average reductions in energy consumption of nearly 25 percent over a three- to four-year period. Consumers are also doubling down on efficiency – 83 percent report that they took extra steps to reduce their electric bill over the past year and 93 percent say they will use the same amount of electricity or less in the future.
“The recession is profoundly changing energy habits for both businesses and consumers,” said Greg Aliff, one of the survey’s authors and a vice chairman in the energy resources sector at Deloitte LLP. “Using less may be the new normal, from boardroom tables to the kitchen tables.”
The annual survey, “reSources 2012,” found that 9 out of 10 companies have set goals regarding electricity usage and energy management practices with 66 percent identifying cost-cutting as their primary motivation.
Moreover, the survey indicates 85 percent of businesses view reducing electricity costs as essential to staying financially competitive, a 9 percent jump from 2011. Further, 81 percent view reducing electricity costs as essential to their image, 11 percentage points over last year.
Marlene Motyka, U.S. alternative energy leader at Deloitte, says new energy goals are linked to the bottom line and not simply just corporate window dressing. “Companies are making significant energy-efficiency progress, reporting that they have achieved about 60 percent of their targets for energy savings when it comes to electricity, natural gas, carbon footprint and transport fleets.”
It is going to get tougher, though, noted Motyka. “Well over half (62 percent) of the companies surveyed report their energy management goals were somewhat difficult to achieve. Moreover, 21 percent say their energy management goals were very or extremely difficult to achieve compared to 13 percent in the 2011 survey. The low-hanging fruit may have already been picked when it comes to energy efficiency.”
Consumers Continue to Seek Smarter Ways to Reduce Energy Use Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of consumers believe going through the recession has ultimately been good because it makes them more efficient and reminds them what is important. In contrast, last year only 49 percent of respondents felt that way.
Motyka also noted that consumers are getting smarter about energy conservation. According to the survey:
Consumers regard turning off lights (cited by 56 percent of respondents), shutting down electronics not in use (48 percent) and adjusting thermostats by a few degrees (41 percent) among the top five energy conservation actions to save even more electricity in the future.
More than one-third (35 percent) say replacing old appliances with newer, energy efficient models is among their top five future energy conservation actions.
One-fifth (20 percent) cited using a ‘smart’ power strip that senses when appliances are off and cuts ‘phantom’ energy use.
And 12 percent say getting a smart energy management application to control and reduce their energy consumption is as a key “to-do” activity.
New technologies are helping businesses and individuals make smarter choices, according to Dr. Joseph Stanislaw, an independent senior advisor to Deloitte and founder of advisory firm, JAStanislaw Group, LLC. “Now they can proactively manage their energy consumption and carbon footprints with smart meters, smart appliances and demand management programs,” Stanislaw said.
Stanislaw further suggests such technologies help energy users make a radical difference in their own consumption. “The ‘power of one’ has come into its own,” he said, citing a new white paper he authored titled, “Next Frontiers: How Technology is Radically Reshaping Supply, Demand the Energy of Geopolitics.”
Deloitte’s “reSources 2012″ survey was completed by Deloitte and The Harrison Group, a strategy and market research firm, which polled more than 600 business decision-makers and more than 2,200 household decision-makers.
About the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions The Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions provides a forum for innovation, thought leadership, groundbreaking research and industry collaboration to help companies solve the most complex energy challenges. Through the Center, Deloitte’s Energy Resources group leads the debate on critical topics on the minds of executives – from the impact of legislative and regulatory policy, to operational efficiency, to sustainable and profitable growth. The Center provides comprehensive solutions through a global network of specialists and thought leaders. With locations in Houston and Washington, D.C., the Center offers interaction through seminars, roundtables and other forms of engagement where established and growing companies can come together to learn, discuss and debate.
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