Rather than telling people how to be more energy efficient this Earth Day, SmartPower decided to test consumers' knowledge of energy efficiency with a 10-question quiz. Instead of receiving the varied results we expected, we noticed that there were some surprisingly common incorrect answers.
For example, we asked: Where do houses leak the most energy? a) windows and doors, b) ducts, c) plumbing, d) ceilings, walls and floors
Seven out of 10 people answered a) windows and doors. Only one in ten people answered correctly: d) ceilings, walls and floors.
This is alarming, as houses are an even larger source of carbon dioxide than cars -- another commonly missed quiz question -- making it extremely important that homeowners understand not only how much energy their homes are wasting, but also where they are wasting energy.
Programs like Energize New York offer the services of an Energy Coach -- a home energy specialist who visits the house to give homeowners some personally tailored advice before they commit to a comprehensive assessment. This way, the homeowners are geared with the best possible knowledge to ask the best possible questions and get the best possible results.
A video of Energy Coach Dick Kornbluth meeting with a North Castle resident provides the perfect snapshot of how common misconceptions about home energy efficiency can turn into money drains, as the featured homeowner was pleasantly surprised to find that window replacements were not listed among her recommended upgrades. Rather, replacing the insulation in her walls proved to be a much less costly and much more effective means of making her home more comfortable and efficient.
If more homeowners took advantage of highly incentivized programs like Energize New York, they could be saving hundreds of dollars on their energy bills each month thanks to better-insulated ceilings, walls and floors.
Another blaring misconception from the Earth Day Energy Quiz was that four in five people assumed that an Advanced Controlling Power Strip results in 53 percent energy savings or lower. In reality they save, on average, 73 percent of energy compared to standard power strips.
Advanced Controlling Power Strips are capable of generating such big savings because their improved technology allows them to sense and automatically cut off the electricity supply to devices not in use. With smart energy gadgets like these, it's possible for homes to stop wasting energy bill dollars on idle electronics.
Before I give away all the answers, I'd encourage you to take the Earth Day Energy Quiz to see if you're any more energy savvy than our previous test takers. Once you finish the quiz and compare your answers to the correct ones, think about what you can do to be more energy efficient at home and beyond, keeping in mind that changes as simple as turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth can save loads on your energy bill.
Good Luck! And I hope to see all perfect scores on next year's Earth Day Energy Quiz!
Brian Keane is the President of SmartPower, a non-profit marketing organization funded by private foundations to help build the clean energy marketplace by helping the American public become smarter about their energy use.