Personas of the household energy transition

We’ve spent a lot of time recently talking to households about transitioning to clean energy, including the 50 homeowners in our clean energy transition research initiative.

And well, we’ve noticed a few things.

Not that we want to put people into buckets…but we’ve put people into buckets. Like all good market research we’ve discovered that people fall into different personas, and those different personas want different things. In our defence, we’re doing it for a good cause – figuring out the right ways to help each persona transition to clean energy.

Eco Nerds

Prevalence: 8% of survey respondents

Eco nerds are primarily motivated by environmental impact. In our survey they were highly confident in making informed decisions, and would invest lots of time researching options. 

In interviews we found that they were willing to purchase clean energy products even when they were more expensive, or wouldn’t result in bill savings.

Motivated by: Reducing their carbon footprint
Catchphrase: “I don’t care how much it costs, I want a passive house”
Preferred resources: Community meetings, online articles, discussion forums

Optimisation Geeks

Prevalence: 14% of survey respondents

Optimisation geeks are primarily motivated by cost savings, and having the most optimised system to reduce their energy bills.

In our survey they were highly confident in making informed decisions, and would invest lots of time researching options and learning about technical details. They enjoy having a well designed system that operates at peak efficiency.

They are willing to invest money in the latest clean energy products because they know they will make the money back (and more) in the long run.

Motivated by: Saving money on energy bills, and the joy of a well designed and properly installed system.
Catchphrase: “My system is so efficient I pay nothing to the electricity company”
Preferred resources: Savings calculators, online articles, discussion forums

House Proud

Prevalence: 8% of survey respondents

The house proud homeowners are primarily motivated by increasing the value of their property, rather than being motivated by environmental benefits or bill savings. 

They view clean energy products as investments for when they sell their property in the future. They are more likely to invest in known brand names that are associated with quality or luxury, and appreciate good aesthetic design.

This group is relatively small, although if the government introduces mandatory disclosure of energy efficiency when a home is sold the group may grow larger in the future.

In addition to homeowners, we have also encountered developers who fall into this category – adding clean energy products to high end housing and apartment development.

Motivated by: Increasing the value of their property
Catchphrase: “This is going to add tons of value when we sell”
Preferred resources: Trusted advisors

Guilty Time-poor

Prevalence: 20% of survey respondents

The guilty time-poor homeowners are motivated by the environment and bill savings, and have a reasonable level of confidence, but very little time to spend researching options. 

They are often working professionals and parents who can afford clean energy products, but they will only take action if it’s extremely convenient. In interviews we found that they feel guilty about not transitioning but also don’t have the time to do anything about it. 

Motivated by: Environmental benefits and bill savings
Catchphrase: “I’ve been meaning to do this for ages but just never get around to it”
Preferred resources: Instant calculators, online booking

Moderate Middle

Prevalence: 42% of survey respondents

The moderate middle are the large group of homeowners who have a moderate amount of confidence, and are willing to invest some time in researching options – but only as much as needed to make a decision. They are primarily motivated by bill savings, but not as motivated as the optimisation geeks. 

The upfront cost is a barrier to them. In interviews we found they are more likely to wait until something needs to be replaced, or until they are doing a renovation, to take action. 

They aren’t going to go out of their way to transition if it takes a lot of time and energy, and they tend to listen to their Eco Nerd and Optimisation Geek friends when making decisions.

Motivated by: Mostly saving money on energy bills, but if it does something good for the environment that’s nice too.
Catchphrase: “If it’s worth it then I might do it when we renovate”
Preferred resources: Savings calculators, trusted advisors

Sceptics

Prevalence: 8% of survey respondents

Sceptics have no interest in transitioning to clean energy, and in some cases actively oppose the transition. They feel confident in their views and are unlikely to seek out information on clean energy products.

Sceptics question claims that clean energy products deliver benefits over traditional products. In some cases they question the existence of climate change as a whole.

Motivated by: They have no interest in clean energy
Catchphrase: “We should all just stick with coal, clean energy is a woke rort”
Preferred resources: Truth Social and X

How does this change our priorities?

From what we’ve learnt about these personas, we feel that both the Eco Nerds and Optimisation Geeks (and even the Sceptics) are well served by existing resources – they’re also quite confident and don’t need our help.

We’re going to focus our efforts on helping the Guilty Time-Poor and Moderate Middle transition, which is 62% of the survey respondents. 

We’ll focus on doing the things they say are most useful, which includes:

  • Expanding our range of instant cost, savings and rebates calculators to more products and locations and ensure seamless booking with quality local installers.
  • Offering free virtual consultations where people can speak to an advisor, and which you can book online to make it convenient.
  • Producing a range of simple, easy to understand articles and videos.
  • Working with councils and grassroots community groups to provide digital tools they can use to reach personas that are less likely to attend their meetings.
  • Partnering with finance providers who can help people address the high upfront costs associated with transitioning.