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Who Wins the Energy Efficiency Games?

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How do countries fare in a friendly, international competition focused on energy efficiency? 

Recently, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released its 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which ranks the world’s largest economies based on 30 different energy efficiency indicators. The scoring is out of 100 possible points and the criteria is divided into four separate categories: buildings, industry, transportation and national efforts.  

Which countries performed the best? Here are the top 10 finishers from ACEEE’s report.

10. Canada: 59/100 possible points

Canada took 10th place, receiving 59 points out of a possible 100. Of the four categories, Canada was strongest with building efficiency, thanks to stringent appliance and equipment standards. It was also recognized for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) 30 percent by 2030, which aligns with Ontario’s new cap & trade program.

8. South Korea (tie): 61.5/100 possible points

With 61.5 points, South Korea tied for eighth place. South Korea ranked fifth internationally in the industrial category with special efficiency programs that provide financial support and tax credits to businesses that invest in energy-saving technologies. The country’s large manufacturing facilities also conduct regular energy audits and generate a fair amount of electricity from combined heat and power (CHP).

8. United States (tie): 61.5/100 possible points

While this is likely a disappointing finish for some, the U.S. actually moved up from its 13th place ranking in 2014. It took second place in building efficiency with stringent building codes, appliance and equipment standards. The U.S. also placed fifth in national efforts for its extensive energy data collection efforts.

7. Spain: 62/100 possible points

Spain narrowly edged out South Korea and the United States for the seventh spot, with 62 total points. Its maintains strong building codes for residential and commercial buildings and also targets an energy savings goal of 20 percent by 2020 as part of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive.

6. China: 64/100 possible points

China took sixth place with strong performances in the building and transportation categories. Like the other competitors, China boasts mandatory codes in urban areas for residential and commercial buildings. It also tied for fourth in transportation efficiency thanks to ambitious fuel economy standards, which target a fleet-wide average of 47.7 mpg by 2025.

5. United Kingdom: 65/100 possible points

This year, the United Kingdom dropped in the rankings due to the rollback of some energy efficiency targets — including a 33 percent cut to the nation's efficiency obligations and 20 percent cut to future spending — partially related to the country’s Brexit vote last month. While there are still some strong policies and programs still in place, they will likely be affected by the country’s referendum going forward.

4. France: 67.5/100 possible points

France took the bronze with its strong performances in national efforts and building efficiency. The country is committed to cutting energy consumption 17 percent by 2020 and also participates in the EU’s fuel economy target, which calls for a fleet-wide average of 56.9 mpg by 2025.

2. Italy (tie): 68.5/100 possible points

Italy and Japan shared the silver medal in a tie for second place. Italy performed particularly well in the transportation category, tying with India and Japan for first place with a fleet-wide average target of 56.9 mpg by 2025, a current average on-the-road fuel economy for passenger vehicles at 38.6 mpg and significant rail transit investments. It has also demonstrated a commitment to energy efficiency in its industrial sector by establishing energy savings targets and requiring periodic energy audits.

2. Japan (tie): 68.5/100 possible points

Japan is an international model for energy efficiency with its significant reduction in energy intensity since 2000, strong energy-saving goals and one of the most high-performing thermoelectric power systems in the world. Japan has also developed a healthy mix of regulatory measures, voluntary actions and financial incentives to encourage energy efficiency in its industrial sector.

1. Germany: 73.5/100 possible points

Somewhat unsurprisingly, energy efficiency powerhouse Germany took home the gold again this year with 73.5 total points. Thanks to initiatives stemming from its comprehensive national energy strategy, known as Energiewende, it placed first in the national efforts, buildings and industrial categories.

You can read ACEEE’s full report here. Do your part to help the U.S. move up the rankings — check out our plans.

Posted: July 28, 2016