Recent research reveals notable differences in the businesses and individuals investing in energy efficiency. For example, an analysis of EIA’s Manufacturer Energy Consumption Survey (MECS) shows that larger firms have substantially higher adoption rates of energy management activities than smaller firms. Among households, those with higher incomes are more likely to make substantial energy efficiency investments (i.e., investments large enough to be eligible for federal energy efficiency tax credits). For smaller investments, such as new lightbulbs, there does not appear to be an income effect.
Businesses that decide to make energy efficiency investments do so for many reasons, and these rationales shift over time. For example, when asked the top reasons that their organization (or client) is focused on sustainability and/or conservation,energy savings and/or cost reductionswas the top response, followed by a commitment to health and wellness and consumer expectations. However, notably, in recent years the percentage of respondents citing energy and cost savings has declined, while the percentage noting concerns about climate, employee retention, and regulations has increased.