The Barriers to Home Energy Efficiency Improvements

The Vermont legislature has established an ambitious goal to improve the energy fitness of 25% of Vermont’s housing units, about 80,000 homes and apartments, by 2020. This will require a substantial increase in the number of Vermont households completing energy efficiency improvements. In 2012 and 2013, the High Meadows Fund, in collaboration with Efficiency Vermont, commissioned market research and focus groups to explore the barriers and potential motivations behind the decision-making of single-family homeowners.

The market research included a survey of 615 Vermont homeowners not known to have participated in either the Efficiency Vermont Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program or the Vermont Gas Home Retrofit program. The survey collected information on recent home energy upgrades; barriers to and motivations for pursuing energy efficiency improvements; awareness of retrofit programs; and interest in potential program services. Building on this research, focus groups examined Vermont homeowners’ interest in and experience with energy efficiency improvements in greater depth, with a focus on potential measures to increase their confidence that the improvements would reduce energy bills.

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