Germany Wins ‘World Cup’ of Energy Efficiency

July 18, 2014 By Karen Henry

energy-efficiency-scorecard-energy-manageAfter winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup last week, Germany has shown that it is also a dominating force in the energy-efficiency realm, topping the list of a new energy efficiency ranking of 16 leading world economies. Germany was followed by Italy, the European Union as a whole, China and France, according to the 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). New to the rankings this year are India, Mexico, South Korea and Spain.

Now in its second edition, the ACEEE report finds that while some countries are still significantly outperforming others, there are substantial opportunities for improved energy efficiency in all economies analyzed, including the United States, which ranked 13 out of 16 nations.

The rankings are modeled on ACEEE’s approach to energy efficiency ranking of US states, and include 16 of the world’s largest economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union. These 16 economies represent over 81 percent of global gross domestic product and 71 percent of global energy consumption.

On a scale of 100 possible points in 31 categories, the nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows: (1) Germany; (2) Italy; (3) the European Union; (tied for 4) China; (tied for 4) France; (tied for 6) Japan; (tied for 6) United Kingdom; (8) Spain; (9) Canada; (10) Australia; (11) India; (12) South Korea; (13) United States; (14) Russia; (15) Brazil; and (16) Mexico.

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. The top-scoring countries in each grouping are: EU, France, and Italy (three-way tie for national efforts); China (buildings); Germany (industry); and Italy (transportation).

The ACEEE report points out that while the United States has made some progress toward greater energy efficiency in recent years, the overall story is disappointing. The United States’ score of 42 is less than half of the possible points and is 23 points away from the top spot.

In its analysis, ACEEE outlines four major energy efficiency opportunities for the United States: passing a national energy savings target, strengthening national model building energy codes, supporting education and training in the industrial sectors, and prioritizing energy efficiency in transportation spending.

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