Reducing energy use is near the top of the agenda at every level of government: President Obama, Congress, federal agencies, state and local government, as well as community organizations across the nation are currently considering a variety of policies and programs to encourage and help American families become more energy-efficient in their homes and travels. To be truly effective, however, a national strategy must take into account the energy efficiency and conservation actions Americans have already taken, the actions they intend to take (perhaps with some support), the reasons that motivate energy conservation, and the barriers that currently prevent Americans from saving more energy. This report begins to answer these questions through use of a nationally representative survey on Americans’ energy-efficiency and conservation behavior as part of a broader study of their attitudes and behaviors regarding global climate change.
In October and November of 2008, a nationally representative survey of 2,164 American adults was conducted by researchers at Yale and George Mason Universities. Respondents were asked a series of questions about their energy-efficiency and conservation behaviors, including their current behaviors, future intentions, barriers, motivations, and beliefs about the impact of energy saving actions on global warming and their own quality of life.