Germany wins energy efficiency 'World Cup'
As if winning the world's biggest football tournament wasn't enough, Germany has knocked the UK off the top spot in a new global energy efficiency ranking.
The 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, published this week by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), identifies best practices across 31 key metrics in the world's largest economies. (Scroll down for full report).
Germany was praised for its 'comprehensive energy strategy' and the country was awarded maximum points for its building codes, retrofit policies and tax credit and loan programmes. It was followed closely by Italy and the European Union as a whole, with China and France tying in fourth place.
The UK, which topped the inaugural Scorecard back in 2012, has slipped down the list to sixth place, with the report highlighting that many policies and measures that were initially put in place to improve building efficiency have been rolled back or reduced over the past few years.
The ACEEE Scorecard lauded Germany's target of a 20% reduction in primary energy consumption by 2020 and 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. Another recent report from Fraunhofer ISE reported that Germany produced around 31% of its electricity from renewables in the first half of 2014.
According to Government figures, Germany's state development bank's building renovation loan program stimulated private investments of over €34bn in 2013.The country also offers SMEs subsidies of up to 30% for improvements to the efficiency of their manufacturing processes made by upgrading technology and equipment.
The ACEEE ranking system looks at both 'policy metrics' and 'performance metrics' to measure a country's overall energy efficiency. ACEEE divided the 31 metrics across four groupings: those that track cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, as well as the three sectors primarily responsible for energy consumption in an economically developed country - buildings, industry, and transportation.
MAP: World energy effiency 2014
Perhaps the most surprising ranking this year was that of the USA. Long considered an innovative and competitive world leader, the nation ranked 13th out of 16 nations, behind the likes of China, Canada and India.
U.S. Congressman Peter Welch (Vermont) said: "There's really no excuse for the U.S. lagging behind other nations on energy efficiency. States like Vermont have demonstrated that energy efficiency saves money, reduces environmental impact, and creates jobs.
"And, in an environment of gridlock, there is bipartisan common ground on this issue in Congress. I hope the 2014 International Scorecard is a wakeup call that it's time for America to step-up and lead on energy efficiency."
REPORT: 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard