UK leads on energy efficiency

13th July 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Management/saving ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Manufacturing



Efforts by industry to cut energy use has helped the UK to become the most energy efficient of the world's major economies, according to new research from the US

The UK was ranked top of the world’s 12 largest economies by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), in terms of energy efficiency policies and tangible energy reductions over the past decade.

The research assessed and scored the actions and efforts of economies in terms of reducing energy use nationally, as well as in from industry, buildings and transport.

The high uptake of combined heat and power (CHP) by industry and a diverse range of voluntary agreements with manufacturers to cut energy consumption, where important in reducing the UK’s overall energy intensity and achieving the top score of 67 out of a possible 100.

Germany followed closely behind, with a score of 66, while France came third scoring 60. Meanwhile Russia was revealed to be the least energy efficient of the major economies, scoring just 36, only one point below that of Brazil.

Reacting to the news, UK energy secretary Ed Davey, said: “Energy efficiency sits at the heart of our policies to encourage low-carbon growth, and I am therefore particularly pleased that the UK is ranked first of the twelve 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.”

The analysis ranked the UK’s efforts top in terms of industrial energy efficiency, and joint top with Germany, Italy and China in terms of reducing energy from transport.

While ranking eighth overall, China’s efforts to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings far outperformed the other nations, receiving top marks for low energy use in both residential and commercial buildings.

In terms of national policy efforts, Germany was ranked top, partly due to its efforts to improve the energy intensity of its economy, with the amount of energy used to generate its GDP cut by 41% between 2000 and 2009.

In total the researchers looked at 27 areas of policy and performance including the level of administrative spending on energy efficiency, the number of vehicle miles travelled, and whether energy audits were mandatory for businesses.

It concluded that while there were examples of best practice in each area, no one economy is performing well across all the elements.

“There are substantial opportunities for improvement in all economies analysed. The conditions required for a perfect score are currently achievable and in practice, somewhere on the globe,” states the report.

“For every metric, at least one country received full points. However, every country has serious weaknesses.”

The report concludes that the US must ramp up its energy efficiency efforts in order to remain competitive with the rest of the globe. It recommends the US adopts a national energy saving target; develops policy to encourage wider uptake of CHP and encourages manufacturers to perform regular energy audits in line with ISO 50001 – as will soon be mandated in the EU, under the Energy Efficiency Directive.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Swing voters show strong support for renewables

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Tom Harris examines the supply chain constraints facing the growing number of interconnector projects

2nd April 2024

Read more

The UK government’s carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) strategy is based on optimistic techno-economic assumptions that are now outdated, Carbon Tracker has warned.

13th March 2024

Read more

The UK government’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker has found broad support for efforts to tackle climate change, although there are significant concerns that bills will rise.

13th March 2024

Read more

A consortium including IEMA and the Good Homes Alliance have drafted a letter to UK government ministers expressing disappointment with the proposed Future Homes Standard.

26th February 2024

Read more

Global corporations such as Amazon and Google purchased a record 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy last year, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).

13th February 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close