WASHINGTON — Germany has placed first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s major economies, 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). The United States ranked 13th out of the 16 nations examined.
The rankings are modeled on ACEEE’s approach to the energy efficiency ranking of U.S. states, and include 16 of the world’s largest economies: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, 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 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: European Union, France, and Italy (three-way tie for national efforts); China (buildings); Germany (industry); and Italy (transportation).
Steven Nadel, ACEEE executive director, said, “Germany is a prime example of a nation that has made energy efficiency a top priority. The United States, long considered an innovative and competitive world leader, has progressed slowly and has made limited progress since our last report, even as Germany, Italy, China, and other nations surge ahead.”
The ACEEE report notes that while the U.S. has made some progress towards greater energy efficiency in recent years, the overall story is disappointing. “The inefficiency in the U.S. economy means a tremendous waste of energy resources and money. Across most metrics analyzed in this International Scorecard, in the past decade the United States has made limited progress toward greater efficiency at the national level. The overall U.S. score of 42 is less than half of the possible points and is 23 points away from the top spot. Further, the United States falls behind Canada, Australia, India, and South Korea. These scores suggest that this list of countries may have an economic advantage over the United States because using less energy to produce and transport the same economic output costs them less. Their efforts to improve efficiency likely make their economies more nimble and resilient.”
In its analysis, ACEEE outlines recommendations for the United States, highlighting four major opportunities for increased energy efficiency: 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.
Publication date: 7/28/2014