Survey finds Canadians more concerned with saving green than being green

Sixty-four per cent of Canadians put on a sweater to stay warm rather than turning up the thermostat

TORONTO, April 3, 2014 /CNW/ - Canadians support renewable and alternative energy as much today (63 per cent) as they did five years ago. However, when it comes to lowering their household energy usage more than half (54 per cent) of Canadian consumers are driven by saving money and not by being green, shows a new survey commissioned by Centennial College's School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science.

"Regardless of what is driving them to be more environmentally conscious, it's fantastic to see that Canadians are supporting renewable and alternative energy," says Dr. Patrick Kelly, dean of Centennial's School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science.

Ontarians' response to the introduction of time-of-use smart meters, which offer lower electricity rates during off-peak hours, shows just how effective financial incentives are for changing consumer behaviour. More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of the Ontarians surveyed say they do their laundry during off-peak hours. This compares with only 31 per cent for the rest of Canada.

When asked about the financial impact of Canada's cold winters, 54 per cent of Canadians agree that high energy bills as a result of the 2013/2014 winter had a significant financial impact on their household. So how did consumers stay warm?  This winter, 64 per cent of the 1,510 Canadians surveyed say they put on a warm sweater or grabbed a blanket to avoid turning up the thermostat (by gender: 70 per cent of women and 58 per cent of men).

When it comes to electricity, more than half (57 per cent) of Canadians have bought energy saving bulbs, such as compact fluorescent bulbs to lower energy use and save money, but 65 per cent say the newer LED bulbs are still too expensive even though they know the LED bulbs pay for themselves quickly and save a lot of money over the years.

Other survey results include:

  • ENERGY STAR ratings are a top selling point for 62 per cent when buying electronics and appliances.
  • 69 per cent of Canadians say that renewable/alternative energy will be vital to the economy in the future.
  • 67 per cent of Canadians say governments must invest in this sector or else the country will fall behind the rest of the world.
  • 63 per cent of Canadians say they support sustainable and renewable energy as much now as they did five years ago.
  • The rise in base electricity prices has made 32 per cent of Canadians less supportive of renewable/alternative energy, led by 37 per cent in Ontario.
  • Only 22 per cent of respondents say they opt for the "air-dry" setting on their dishwasher, which saves electricity by not heating the dishes to dry.

"For Canada to be a sustainable country in the future, we all need to do our part now and that includes making renewable and alternative energy more accessible to Canadians," says Kelly. "We also need to continue to educate consumers on how to incorporate modern energy technologies in their day-to-day lives to foster a sustainable environment and economy for the future."

Additional energy saving tips:

  • Set your dishwasher to AIR DRY to save electricity.
  • Unplug all appliances when not using.
  • Invest in a home energy monitor.
  • Switch all lights to LED bulbs.
  • Buy appliances with ENERGY STAR ratings.

Centennial College's School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science is illuminating the path to Ontario's energy future. Through its Centennial Energy Institute (CEI) the school provides the critical job skills for the new energy economy and provides clarity to those seeking to implement modern energy technology. CEI provides technical, operational and strategic guidance on the adoption of sustainable energy and environmental practice to promote a successful and healthy future. 

For more information, visit Centennial College School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science.

About the Survey

From March 19th to March 20th 2014 an online survey was conducted among 1,510 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

SOURCE Centennial College

For further information: For media interviews or additional information, please contact: Nicole Brightling, Citizen Optimum, Office: 416-934-8099, Email: Nicole.Brightling@citizenrelations.com; Mark Toljagic, Communications Officer, Centennial College, Office: 416-289-5000, ext. 7142, E-mail: mtoljagic@centennialcollege.ca