First International Energy Efficiency Scorecard of 12 Major Economies Also Finds Germany, Japan, and Italy Ranking Highly; U.S. Behind Most Countries, Including China, France, and Australia.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 12, 2012 – The United Kingdom comes in first in a
closely by Germany, Japan, and Italy, according to the first-ever
International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report finds
that in the last decade the U.S. has made "limited or little progress toward
greater efficiency at the national level," putting it in 9th place out of 12
economies around the globe.
The rankings are modeled on ACEEE's time-tested approach to energy
efficiency ranking of U.S. states, and include 12 of the world's largest
economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan,
Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. These
12 economies represent over 78 percent of global gross domestic product; 63
percent of global energy consumption; and 62 percent of the global
carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions.
On a scale of 100 possible points in 27 categories, the nations were ranked
by ACEEE as follows: (1) the United Kingdom; (2) Germany; (3) Japan; (4)
Italy; (5) France; (6) the European Union, Australia, and China (3-way tie);
(9) the U.S.; (10) Brazil; (11) Canada; and (12) Russia.
ACEEE divided the 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
top-scoring countries in each grouping are: Germany (national efforts);
China (buildings); the United Kingdom (industry); and a tie among Italy,
China, Germany, and the United Kingdom (transportation).
ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said: "The UK and the leading
economies of Europe are now well ahead of the United States when it comes to
energy efficiency. This is significant because countries that use energy
more efficiently require fewer resources to achieve the same goals, thus
reducing costs, preserving valuable natural resources, and creating jobs.
Unfortunately, our results show that nowhere is the vast potential for
improvements in energy efficiency being completely realized. While many
countries achieved notable success, none received a perfect score in any
category – proving that there is much that all countries can still learn
from each other. For example, the United States scored relatively high in
buildings, but was at the bottom of the list in transportation."
Greg Barker, British Secretary of State for Climate Change, said: "I welcome
today's publication of the first International Energy Efficiency Scorecard
by the ACEEE. Energy efficiency sits at the heart of our policies to
encourage low-carbon growth, and I am particularly pleased that the UK is
ranked first of the 12 economies considered by the study. Making our
buildings and industries more energy efficient is a significant challenge,
one that will take years to meet; doing so cost effectively will mean
drawing on the experiences of others. This study is a fascinating collection
of best practice, setting out the innovations which can accelerate economic
growth, enhance energy security – and save our households and businesses
Report author and ACEEE Senior Researcher Sara Hayes said: "While energy
efficiency has played a major role in the economies of developed nations for
decades, cost-effective energy efficiency remains a massively underutilized
energy resource. Fortunately, there is a lot countries can do to strengthen
their economic competitiveness through improvements in energy efficiency."
The ACEEE ranking system looks at both "policy metrics" and "performance
metrics" to measure a country's overall energy efficiency. Examples of
policy metrics include the presence of a national energy savings target,
fuel economy standards for vehicles, and energy efficiency standards for
appliances. The "performance metrics" measure energy use and provide
quantifiable results. Examples of performance metrics include the amount of
energy consumed by a country relative to its gross domestic product, average
miles per gallon of on-road passenger vehicles, and energy consumed per
square foot of floor space in residential buildings.
The ACEEE report raises a critical question: How can the United States
compete in a global economy if it continues to waste money and energy that
other industrialized nations save and can reinvest? The new report outlines
a number of recommendations for the United States such as:
* A national energy savings target. Congress should pass a national energy
savings target to complement existing state policies and raise the bar for
all states. Most countries analyzed in this Scorecard have such targets. In
the interim, the states without mandatory targets for utility energy savings
should adopt them.
* Efficiency in manufacturing. Manufacturers should commit to continual
improvement in energy efficiency by using Superior Energy Performance ISO
50001 (ISO 2011) and other voluntary platforms.
* Financial incentives. States and the federal government should implement
improved financial incentives, such as tax credits, loans, and loan-loss
reserves, to spur private investment in energy efficiency.
* Investment in research and development. Greatly increased R&D investment
is needed to develop new technologies and practices that support energy
efficiency across all sectors of the economy.
* Efficient power plants. Government policies should be adopted that
encourage utilities to retire old, inefficient power plants and ensure that
any new power plants are highly efficient.
* Output-based emissions standards. These standards should be employed to
encourage the use of the most efficient generation technologies.
* Efficient power distribution. Electric grid infrastructure should be
modernized to reduce line losses. Utilities should deploy high efficiency
distribution transformers, increased utilization of distributed energy
sources, and advanced "smart grid" techniques to reduce transmission and
* Building codes. All states should use the most recent and stringent
building code standards.
* Appliance standards. Federal and state governments should implement and
enforce existing appliance standards, regularly update these standards, and
develop standards for additional products (e.g., pumps).
* Combined heat and power. Governments and regulators should adopt policies
that allow combined heat and power (CHP) to obtain reasonable electricity
buyback and backup power rates.
* Vehicle miles traveled. The United States should reconsider the pricing of
transportation, and facilitate the adoption of policies such as
"pay-as-you-drive" insurance, in which the cost is determined primarily by
the number of miles traveled.
* Public transit. National funding should be increased for public transit,
freight rail, and non-motorized modes of transportation.
* Fuel economy for passenger vehicles. The federal government should adopt
the proposed increases in Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards,
which would result in average fuel economy of 49.6 miles per gallon in 2025.
* Fuel economy for heavy-duty vehicles. The federal government should adopt
substantially higher standards for heavy-duty vehicle fuel efficiency for
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy acts as a catalyst to
advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and
behaviors. For information about ACEEE and its programs, publications, and
conferences, visit http://aceee.org.