UK top of the world for energy efficiency

The UK has come top in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world's major economies. In the inaugural International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, the UK scored 67 from a maximum 100 points.

The average score was 54 points, with Germany, Italy and Japan all close behind the UK. Those lagging at the foot of the table with less than 50 points included the United States, which has made “limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level”. Russia was bottom with 36 points.

The scorecard, published by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), analysed policy metrics, such as energy efficiency standards and national targets, and performance metrics, including the amount of energy consumed relative to gross domestic product, of 12 nations in all.

Each nation received a score for 27 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.

The UK top-scored in industry (18 out of 24) and was joint-top with Italy, China and Germany for transportation (14 out of 23). The UK was spotlighted for best practice for its investment in passenger rail and vehicle fuel economy, as well as its use of combined heat and power.

For national effort it ranked second (18 out of 25), but for energy efficiency in buildings the UK scored only 17 out of a maximum 28 points, placing fourth. Energy use in residential buildings was highlighted as a particular problem, with the UK scoring one point out of a possible four.

Greg Barker, Secretary of State for Climate Change, welcomed the results, but admitted that making buildings more efficient is a “significant challenge” that will “take years to meet” and doing so cost-effectively would mean “drawing on the experiences of others”.

Though four countries scored above 60, the ACEEE said there are “substantial opportunities for improvement” in all the economies it analysed. Executive director Steven Nadel said countries could still learn a lot from one another.

“The UK and the leading economies of Europe are now well ahead of the United States when it comes to energy efficiency. Unfortunately, our results show that nowhere is the vast potential for improvements in energy efficiency being completely realised.”

ACEEE’s recommendations included a national energy savings target for the US given that “most of the countries in the scorecard have such targets”. Last month, the EU agreed a legally binding energy saving target of 17% by 2020 – lower than the 20% initially proposed.

edie staff

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