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Survey: Consumers Unclear on How Smart Grid Technology Works
Mar 31, 2011
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Many in the industry believe that the Smart Grid is a significant factor in the future of efficient homes and green building, but a new Whirlpool survey shows that 70% of consumers who are aware of Smart Grid technology feel they only somewhat understand how it works

Only 43% of all consumer respondents indicated they know what Smart Grid technology is. The number was greater for respondents in the upper middle (63%) and high-income (57%) segments.

The survey was conducted on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation and Habitat for Humanity International by the NAHB Research Center, which reported opinions from consumers and builders on topics related to green home building.

The survey showed that of all Smart Grid-aware consumer respondents, only 35% believe their community somewhat understands Smart Grid technology, while 46% of the same segment said they feel their community does not understand the technology at all.

"These survey findings suggest that there needs to be greater emphasis on Smart Grid education among all of us, which would encourage more green building," said Warwick Stirling, Global Director of Energy and Sustainability, Whirlpool Corporation. "Whirlpool has committed to make all of its appliances Smart Grid-compatible by the end of 2015, so it understands how important it is to have everyone working together to promote knowledge on the topic of Smart Grid."

The builder portion of the survey showed a similar perception of consumer knowledge on the subject. Of all Smart Grid-aware respondents, 62% said that they believe homeowners do not understand Smart Grid technology at all. Smart Grid-aware builder respondents generally felt more confident with their own knowledge of the technology, with 79% answering that they at least somewhat understand how it works. A total of 51% of Smart Grid-aware builder respondents noted that they believe the home building industry as a whole understands how the technology works.

An encouraging find in the consumer survey was that 48% of Smart Grid-aware respondents indicated that Smart Grid-compatible appliances will be very important to green homes. In the builder survey, 64% of Smart Grid-aware respondents said these appliances will be at least somewhat important to green homes in the future.

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