CANADIANS INFLUENCED BY SOCIAL CIRCLES AND ECONOMY WHEN IT COMES TO ENVIRONMENTAL EFFORTS AT HOME

TORONTO, April 6 /CNW/ - Going green may be losing steam for Canadians but keeping up with the Joneses never goes out of style.

The third annual Canadian Green Home Index, developed by Environics Research for The Home Depot, assigns Canadians a 54.7 out of 100 rating when it comes to environmental actions taken at home, down 1.9 points from last year.

And while the national score has declined for the second consecutive year, Index results also reveal a notable link between going green, the influence of individual social networks, and for the second year in a row, the Canadian economy.

Green with Envy a Good Thing: Social Influence Impacts Green Action
Canadians with a social network (defined as their friends and neighbours) interested in greening their own homes, and those who feel supported by this network to go green, have higher overall Green Index scores than those less connected in these ways.

  • Canadians with friends and neighbours strongly interested in greening their own homes have an average Green Index score of 59.2, compared to those with friends and neighbours with no such interest (47.2 )
  • Canadians with friends and neighbours who strongly support their green home efforts scored higher on the Index at 62.2, versus those without a supportive social network (45.1)

"There's no doubting that our friends and neighbours have influence on our green actions. These are the people we associate with regularly and measure our homes against," said Gino DiGioacchino, vice president of merchandising for The Home Depot Canada. "The key to driving encouraging change is empowering each other to incorporate environmentally-preferred products into everyday activities - this collective approach can result in a green shift for the better."

Small Green Actions Too Big for Canadians
Turning off water and lights may sound easy, but the number of Canadians who reported green actions in the past six months declined from seven in 10 (69%) in 2010, to six in 10 (61%) in 2011. And although the majority report that their level of effort is about the same (53%), only 41 per cent say they made a greater effort, compared with 46 per cent last year. Even more, among those reporting making the same effort or less, 22 per cent said they have done all they can to reduce environmental impacts.

But Canadians aren't doing all they can - the Index reveals a downward trend in simple green actions, including:

  • Recycling and composting (-6 points)
  • Using less water (-3 points)
  • Turning off lights (-3 points)

"Being green doesn't have to be arduous. Changing a few habits such as switching to CFL or LED bulbs, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, and even lowering the temperature on your hot water heater can have a positive influence on the environment and your wallet," said DiGioacchino.

Show Me the Green: Canadian Economy Still Has Impact
For the second year, the Index reveals fewer homeowners are taking green actions due to the economy or their financial situation (23%). It's clear that although the Canadian economy seems to be rebounding, consumers are still cautious about returning to previous spending habits.

That said, as utility rates are set to increase, many homeowners will see the value in reducing energy consumption. This corroborates other research and trend reports that show Canadians are more likely to change their behaviour if there is a financial advantage to going green.

"Feeling good about the environment and saving money go hand-in-hand. It's time to renew our focus on the impact we are making on the planet and make smart choices when it comes to the products we use everyday - whether it's a large scale renovation or small purchase," said DiGioacchino. "The Home Depot has lowered prices on its more than 2,400 Eco Options products since the program's launch. We offer a number of cost-saving programs within the store, such as rebate programs on environmentally-preferred appliances, toilets and lawn mowers."

As a leading home improvement product and education destination, The Home Depot makes it easy for Canadians to make a green impact on their own turf. Whether it's know-how from knowledgeable in-store associates, online research tools at homedepot.ca, or a commitment to bringing innovative, environmentally-preferred products to shelf, The Home Depot is dedicated to helping its customers achieve energy savings one aisle at a time.

Based on a series of questions, the Canadian Green Home Index tracks Canadian attitudes and behaviours as a means to measure progress toward making households better for the environment. The Canadian Green Home Index was based on a telephone survey conducted for The Home Depot Canada by Environics Research group between February 23 and March 11, 2011, with a representative sample of 2,001 Canadians aged 18 and over.  The results are considered accurate within +/- 2.2% (95% confidence level).

About The Home Depot
The Home Depot is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,247 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces, Mexico and China. In fiscal 2010, The Home Depot had sales of $68.0 billion and earnings from continuing operations of $3.3 billion. The Company employs more than 300,000 associates. The Home Depot's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index

SOURCE Home Depot Canada

For further information:

Tiziana Baccega, Manager, Public Relations & External Affairs
416-412-6570
Tiziana_baccega@homedepot.com

Jordana Wolch, Environics
416-969-2666
jwolch@environicspr.com

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