Direct Energy

Direct Energy

May 25, 2009 08:00 ET

Direct Energy: With the Heat Comes the Home Thermostat Wars

Canadians significantly more motivated by saving money than the planet when it comes to energy efficiency; Direct Energy offers Canadians Solutions to Stop the Thermostat Battles, Save Money and the Environment

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 25, 2009) - According to a recent survey of Canadians commissioned by Direct Energy, a majority of men (63%) and women (67%) say that they are in charge of the thermostat in their home - an inevitable thermostat battle in the making! The survey showed that indeed almost half of the respondents (49%) have had a disagreement about the temperature in their home.

Having the optimal temperature isn't just about making a home comfortable; it can save money while also enabling Canadians to do their part to preserve our planet. While both are great incentives, interestingly almost twice as many Canadians (86%) say they are motivated to make their homes energy efficient in order to save money compared to those (49%) who do so to help save the planet.

However, that motivation is not necessarily matched by actions such as properly regulating the household temperature. In fact Canadians are more inclined to just leave the room (49%) or open a window (59%) than actually moderate the temperature level when there is a dispute about the temperature inside their homes. Overall, the survey indicates that there remains a significant opportunity for Canadians to take measures to make their homes more energy efficient.

So how do we stop these so-called thermo-spats - while simultaneously saving money and playing our part in nurturing the planet? Direct Energy offers Canadians solutions to help make their homes more energy efficient and spat-free.

"There are a number of simple ways to make your home more energy efficient which drive savings and energy conservation," said Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas at Direct Energy. "We want to help empower consumers to shift their good intentions to be more energy efficient into actions. For example, installing a programmable thermostat will help to stabilize the temperature inside the home which will lead to savings on energy bills. Now that's a benefit no one would argue about."

Even a minimal reduction in the number of hours an air conditioner is run during the summer months can result in fairly significant cost and energy savings. For example a high efficiency air conditioner uses approximately 3,700 kWh per 90 day cooling season - which would cost approximately $370 over that season (running 24/7). By reducing the number of hours it is turned on each day by 30%, homeowners could save approximately $111 over the course of the summer.

Additional highlights of the survey include:

- Younger age groups (18-34) are more likely to be motivated to save the planet (66%), yet they are the biggest offenders (56%) when it comes to keeping the air conditioner on for half of the day or more.

- When it comes to thermo-spats, Quebec residents are the least prone (43%), while those living in the Prairies (63%) are the most likely.

--Residents of Alberta and Ontario are similar in how many of them disagree with household members about the temperature inside their home. 55% of Alberta residents get into such disagreements, as do 46% of Ontarians

-- And, households earning more than $100,000 a year report the highest rate (59%) of disagreements

-- Women are both more likely to let their thermo-spat escalate into an argument than men (23% vs. 17%) and more likely to opt to add or remove layers of clothing (82% vs. 76%) or simply open a window (63% vs. 55%) rather than get into a disagreement about the temperature

- Residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan have the highest rates (12%) of leaving air conditioners on 100% of the time during the summer.

Direct Energy offers easy tips for homeowners which will help save money on home cooling, while helping to save the environment at the same time:

- Install a programmable thermostat and turn it up during the day when nobody is home, and at night when outdoor temperatures are cooler. By raising the thermostat's temperature by five degrees Celsius at night, homeowners could save 10 per cent on their energy bill.

- Upgrade to newer, high efficiency appliances and cooling systems - central air conditioning units that meet 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) requirements will deliver as much as 28 per cent more efficiency than that of an older, 10 SEER air conditioner.

- Keep the outdoor air conditioner coil clear of toys, dirt, and grass clippings and carefully clean it with a garden hose. Keep flowers and shrubs a minimum of two feet away from the air conditioner.

- To keep the central air conditioner working at optimum level, keep the top of the unit unobstructed.

- Top up the insulation in the attic. Just a five per cent saving in energy costs can save up to $20 to $70 per year.

- Consider installing ceiling fans - which are more energy efficient than turning on the air conditioner - to maximize air circulation and move the fresh air throughout the home. Ceiling fan blades should move the air downwards in the summer and upwards in the winter.

- Up to 30 per cent of a home's heating and cooling costs can be lost through poorly fitted windows and doors. Caulk and weather strip around windows and doors or upgrade to new, more energy efficient windows to reduce energy consumption. Weather stripping and caulking to seal air leaks can save homeowners approximately $150 per year on their energy bill.

- A home energy assessment can help identify areas where your home can be more energy efficient. You may even qualify for a federal or provincial rebate if you implement the suggested changes.

- Keep blinds, carpets and furniture free of the vents, so your cooling system can operate efficiently and provide even air distribution. Close vents in less used rooms so you are not spending money cooling those spaces.

For more information visit www.directenergy.com.

About the Survey

The online survey was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies on behalf of Direct Energy from April 23 to April 24, 2009. The survey was conducted among a randomly-selected, representative sample of 1,006 adult Canadians aged 18 and over who are members of the Angus Reid Forum online panel. The margin of error for the overall sample is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE:CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 21 states plus DC and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit www.directenergy.com.

Direct Energy can offer more tips for home energy efficiency and information about the survey. Please contact us for more information.

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