Efficiency behavior versus home improvements [guest post]

Hey everyone! My name is Alex Legakis and I am one of the new interns for Sealed. I was born and raised in Stony Brook, New York and am currently a student at Cornell University, studying Environmental Science and Sustainability.

The first two weeks here have involved a lot of catching up and getting up to speed, meeting new people, studying all the state and local programs, as well as learning about Sealed. One of the things that really caught my attention concerning home efficiency is that people feel habitual fixes to their everyday lives will produce stronger results than structural fixes to their homes.  

For example, if one takes shorter showers, lowers the thermostat, turns the lights off when not home, they can reduce their energy waste to acceptable levels. All those habitual fixes are great but after learning how much home efficiency improvements can affect energy waste, I think it is imperative to tell people who have put in the effort to change their habits that their home could be working against all their progress. 

When talking with a Long Island contracting company, Powersmith, they said that their work on average reduces a home’s energy bills between twenty to fifty percent, which to me seems like some real progress! I feel like structural fixes are something people really don’t think about. When approached with thoughts on home efficiency they reflect on their lifestyle choices and energy use, and not the efficiency of the home itself. 

When people first start to hear about the savings they can achieve by structurally changing their home, I think many will be skeptical. The social belief that you’re in control of your own energy waste through everyday actions is strong.

 While it is true that you can do a lot to reduce energy waste through everyday actions, it helps when your home is working with you, not against you. I think that is where guaranteed savings will become appealing to people because they see what we can promise they will save under the same conditions of the past.

I look forward to seeing how I can try and explain this to homeowners in the field and excited to see what else I can learn about societal attitudes towards home efficiency in the weeks to come.

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