As 2016 opens up a new challenging period, please find a brief summary of key facts showing energy efficiency potential, trends, and factual results delivering in economic growth, sustainability and more resilient overall operational systems:
The energy intensity of countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) improved by 2.3% in 2014. OECD energy consumption is now as low as it was in 2000, while GDP has expanded by USD 8.5 trillion, an increase of 26%. This suggests that these countries have successfully decoupled economic growth from energy consumption growth, with energy efficiency being the main contributing factor.
- Energy security in IEA countries is improving with increased energy efficiency. In 2014 alone, at least 190 Mtoe (7 790 petajoules [PJ]) of primary energy imports were avoided in IEA countries, saving USD 80 billion in import bills.
- Energy efficiency improvements in IEA countries since 1990 have avoided a cumulative 10.2 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, helping to make the 2 degree warming goal more achievable.
- Investments worldwide in energy efficiency in buildings, which account for more than 30% of global energy demand, are estimated to be USD 90 billion (+/- 10%) and are set to expand.
- Electricity consumption in IEA countries has flattened partly as a result of energy efficiency improvements; energy efficiency investments since 1990 saved 2 200 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2014. In the face of flat electricity demand, various electricity utilities are diversifying into energy efficiency services businesses to increase profits.
Energy efficiency investments offer diverse returns that go beyond the financial benefits to governments, industry and individuals. Many of the key strategic objectives of diverse stakeholders around the world can be furthered through energy efficiency. Investments in efficient buildings, transport, and industrial processes can, for example, deliver economic, social and environmental benefits.
Investments in energy efficiency are set to keep growing, despite lower oil and gas prices, driven by more assertive and more comprehensive policies. Tighter regulations on new buildings, products and vehicles, as well as on utilities, are driving efficiency investment levels across many regions, dampening the impact of lower oil and gas prices.