Energy Efficiency

Scaling up investments in and demand for energy-efficient products and services to foster an affordable and equitable low-carbon society

Opportunity

Four-fifths of Europe’s energy comes from oil, gas and coal, the leading source of air pollution and carbon emissions. The European Union imports more than half of its fossil fuels at a cost of more than €400 billion a year. Meanwhile, European electricity prices are among the world’s highest, and there are growing concerns about whether the transition to a low-carbon society will be affordable for households and businesses.

Much of the energy we use today is wasted. We have the technologies and know-how to produce goods and services with less energy, and much of what we spend on imported fuel could be invested at home in improving the energy efficiency of buildings, industries and transport systems. Currently, however, a host of barriers discourage investments in energy-efficient technologies and services in spite of a good payback over time.

Challenge

The cheapest and cleanest way to meet Europe’s energy needs is by making our infrastructure and products more energy efficient. It would also improve industry productivity and help Europe maintain global leadership as a provider of energy efficiency products and services.

A high probability of success is built on three pillars:

Ruling out the least efficient infrastructure, equipment and processes by adopting, enforcing and regularly updating energy efficiency standards and codes. Underpinning all the products, buildings and services available on the market are a vast number of standards and regulations that manufacturers, building developers and service providers must comply with to protect consumer health and safety.

Scaling up demand for energy-efficient products and services by putting in place systems that allow consumers to make informed choices, by reforming energy markets and incentives to value energy efficiency investments, and by addressing barriers to investment with innovative financing and delivery mechanisms.

Building confidence for greater political ambition on energy savings that translates into sufficient political will and public resources to ensure follow-through. A binding political commitment to an ambitious but cost-effective energy savings target would ensure support for a coherent set of policies, measures and programmes across all sectors of the economy and drive significant investment in energy efficiency.

Approach

The Energy Efficiency Programme aims to ensure energy efficiency is seen as a highly effective pathway to increase European competitiveness and energy supply independence while affordably reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and protecting human and environmental health. To that end, we focus on European Union-wide adoption and implementation of a policy package including a binding target for energy efficiency plus specific policies and measures.

We engage and form alliances with stakeholders representing consumers, professionals, technical experts, local authorities and businesses across the supply chain. This includes ensuring the development of credible research and analysis. We have established 14 coalitions and campaigns in eight countries since 2009. For example, the Coalition for Energy Savings has helped to build awareness of the societal benefits of energy efficiency.

We promote the international exchange of policy experiences, innovations and market trends to build confidence and speed learning and development within Europe and abroad. Our partners track implementation progress by governments and advise policymakers on design options.

In line with this strategy, we have four areas of focus:

  • Scaling investments in building efficiency renovation
  • Maintaining confidence for effective and coherent EU targets and policies
  • Building national political will and strengthening compliance with EU legislation
  • Adopting more ambitious standards and effective labels for appliances and equipment

For more information, please contact energyefficiency@europeanclimate.org.