There are various options for private households to reduce their carbon footprint and in many of them utilities can play a key role enabling customers to actually achieve those savings. Some key products and services to drive those savings are autonomous power / heat generation as well as energy efficiency of household appliances and sustainable mobility. An indirect effect can be realised by infrastructure-beneficial actions such as providing storage for balancing or participating in demand response programs with Time-of-Use tariffs.
For utilities the main question to shape their portfolio is, what products and services private customers are interested in and for which they would be willing to pay a premium. To examine these questions we conducted a representative online survey with 1.000 participants in the German market to test the private customers’ interest in different services and products that help to reduce their private carbon footprint. Within the seven categories Storage, Prosumer, Green Consumption, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Mobility, Demand Response and Green Investments we tested 22 application cases with up to 3 specifications (looking at different pricing models) each.
Overall the results show high relevance of the tested products and services with an average 58% of the participants indicating a high or very high interest. Looking into the product categories, private customers are most interested in products around energy storage (e.g. using a shared energy storage or enrolling in a virtual storage service), becoming a prosumer (e.g. producing own green power with a PV installation or a shared installation with neighbours) and green consumption (e.g. switching from conventional to green gas or power).
The highest gradient across interest of persona groups can be observed for storage. All personas except for Richard indicate a high interest with > 70% compared to 50% for Richard. The category green consumption shows the lowest spread with value between 50% and 60% for all personas.
The scope of this analysis focusses mainly on reduction potentials in areas like power consumption, energy efficiency, heating and individual mobility. Thus, there are parts of the total carbon footprint that cannot be influenced considering the scope of this analysis. The adjusted footprint within the scope of the analysis disregards for example emissions caused by food, vacation or consumption of various goods.
Cost as an important but not dominant aspect of sustainable offerings
In order to assess the willingness to pay for the tested products the survey included different specifications of the questions. These can be divided into five groups: cost reduction, cost unchanged, higher running cost, initial investment and opportunity costs in demand response programmes. On average there is higher interest in solutions with cost reduction or unchanged costs. However questions with increased running costs or an initial investment still show high interest of >45% with a relatively small gap to the equivalent questions without additional costs. This characteristic is consistent across all persona groups, leading to the conclusion that there is not only interest, but also willingness to pay.
The older private customers are the less interested are they in offerings for carbon reduction
In terms of private customers’ age, the study shows that younger participants have a higher interest on average. For customers below 47 years the average interest is 69% with a decline in older customer groups. This observation is also reflected within the persona population throughout the age groups. While the younger customers up to 37 years have a high share of the Persona Group Sarah (with a high average interest) the age group above 67 has a relatively high share of Persona Group Richard (with the lowest average interest).
Highest interest for carbon reduction offerings in large cities
With regards to the living situation of the customers it appears, that residents of large cities (67%) and small cities (58%) show a higher average interest than customers living in suburban and rural areas. Again this observation matches with the persona group distribution. In large cities there is a high share of persona group Sarah, in rural areas there are mor customers of the persona group Richard while the persona group Andrea with the highest average interest is spread across cities and rural areas.