A recent survey by Whirlpool Corporation revealed that 84 percent of consumers said that energy – not water or time – is most important to them when it comes to home appliance efficiency. In fact, nearly three quarters (72 percent) of respondents actively look for the Energy Star label when making purchasing decisions.
With savings – on energy, water and money – top-of-mind for today's consumer, Whirlpool Corporation took a closer look at what really drives consumer appliance purchases today. When asked what would be a part of their dream kitchen, eco-efficient appliances beat out other items as the top choice. However, while consumer demand for eco-products is high, understanding of the benefits varies among male and female, married and single.
The survey reveals married or previously married consumers appear to understand the benefits of using eco-efficient products more so than their single counterparts. In fact, 77 percent of married consumers said they look for the Energy Star label when purchasing appliances versus only 59 percent of unmarried consumers. While this indicates a real effort by some to reduce their impact on the environment, it also shows that education is still needed to communicate the benefits to other demographics.
"This survey points to several gaps – be they marital, gender or generational – in energy-efficiency awareness," said Michael Todman, president, Whirlpool North America. "As an active partner of the Energy Star program since August 1998, Whirlpool continues to lead the industry with resource-saving innovations. We are committed to communicating the benefits of these innovations across the gaps identified in the survey."
What else did consumers have to say about eco-efficiency in their homes? A lot, particularly when looking across gender, marital status and age groups.
The greener gender?: Eco-industry insiders have long touted women as the "greener" gender, yet 71 percent of males aged 35-44 surveyed are more attuned to high-efficiency (HE) laundry products as compared to their female counterparts in the same age group (54 percent).
Love and marriage. Sixty-one percent of married and 64 percent of previously married consumers said they understand what HE means in terms of laundry compared to only 51 percent of unmarried consumers.
Generation gap: The majority of consumers age 18-44 said they would have a HE washer in their dream laundry room, while consumers aged 45 and older said they would most prefer a washer and dryer that are more ergonomically friendly. Increasingly, manufacturers are designing products to cater to this age group, which makes up half of the nation's purchasing power. Appliance features include pedestals that raise the height of washers and dryers to reduce bending and controls with large knobs and audible cycle signals for those with limited vision or arthritis.
Efficient or not?: Forty-four percent of consumers said they did not know if top-load washers use more energy than front-loaders and 38 percent believe that they do, indicating a need for clarity when it comes to communicating the benefits of HE machines to appliance shoppers. In fact, HE machines are available in both top and front-load configurations, using up to 67 percent less energy and 70 percent less water and up to 73 percent less water and 77 percent less energy, respectively, as compared to conventional top-loaders.