Given the current economic climate, everyone is interested in stretching the dollar — and homeowners are no exception. Looking for new ways to slash energy bills, homeowners are more frequently factoring energy efficiency into their purchasing decisions of consumer electronics, says a recent study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), Arlington, Va. In “Home Technologies and Energy Efficiency: A Look at Behaviors, Issues, and Solutions,” CEA reveals an increasing consumer interest in the energy efficiency benefits of consumer electronics products, including do-it-yourself solutions and professionally installed home technologies.

Considering that 56% of consumers surveyed showed an interest in “smart energy meters,” which provide information on optimum times to run appliances, the study shows homeowners are more likely to turn to these devices than home energy audits to reduce energy consumption. In the past two years, about one in 10 households conducted a home energy audit. Of those who took part in an audit, 61% replaced appliances or CE devices with more energy-efficient models.

Drilling down deeper into the results, 57% of consumers surveyed believe an equal mix of behavioral changes and the use of new technology will help them conserve household energy. On average, consumers indicate they would need to see a 31% increase in their monthly home energy costs before they would seek out technology options to improve energy efficiency within the home.

“The possibility of another rise in home energy costs provides CE manufacturers and electronic system contractors the opportunity to educate homeowners on technology and systems that maximize home energy efficiency,” says Chris Ely, CEA senior research analyst.

Currently, there is low consumer awareness for terms used by the custom installation industry to describe home energy-efficient technology. While consumers are highly aware of the EPA's Energy Star designation (84%), only 50% recognize the term “smart home” and only 38% are familiar with “home automation.” When given a sample of five major companies that sell smart home products or technologies, a little more than one-third of respondents are aware of those companies.

To access the complete study, visit http://myCEA.CE.org for more information and pricing.