Public opinion research demonstrates widespread support for energy efficiency among Americans. Yet, research also shows that in the context of broader energy issues, energy efficiency emerges as a relatively low priority compared to energy sources like wind, solar, natural gas and more. Those working to advance energy efficiency policies and practices have struggled to capitalize on positive views of energy efficiency to advance energy efficiency policies. Resource Media commissioned testing of energy efficiency imagery to identify visual strategies that can help bridge from the positive associations Americans have with energy efficiency to support for the bigger picture policy initiatives needed to advance energy efficiency at the scale that’s required.

The testing confirms that visuals have the power to bring energy efficiency home for people in a way that is simply not possible with wind, solar and other types of energy. This is in part because many people have experience doing simple things to make their own homes more efficient, which allows them to relate to energy efficiency personally. The research likewise confirms clear challenges when it comes to translating personal support for energy efficiency improvements in one’s home to support for energy efficiency policies in commercial and residential building sectors. People most often view energy efficiency as a personal responsibility, and not the job of government and regulations.

The research demonstrates that images can inspire visceral, angry responses about energy waste, get people excited about doing things to reduce energy use in their homes, and pique interest in how businesses and institutions are saving energy and money. Ultimately, images that tap into Americans’ very positive and personal experiences with energy efficiency generate the most enthusiasm, creating a constructive context for conversations about programs that drive energy efficiency in homes and businesses.