Top 5 Energy-Efficient Countries Series: Germany

Every year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) releases a list of the top 23 most energy-efficient countries. Rankings are based on energy-efficiency for buildings, industry, national, and transportation efforts to reduce energy usage. Each country earns their spot according to accumulated efforts over the previous year.

 

Germany has taken the number one spot. Here’s a look at a few highlights.

 

 

National Efforts

 

top 5 energy efficient countries series germany national effort in textPolicy makers in Germany have implemented an energy-saving strategy called Energiewende. This program has set a target of a 20 percent reduction in primary energy consumption by year 2020. To meet this goal, the German government has created complimentary policies and incentives that are funded by the KfW Development Bank. “Germany’s commitment to creating a framework that encourages investment in energy efficiency has made it a world-leading market in the field,” says Henning Ellermann, energy-efficiency industry expert at Germany Trade & Invest.

 

 

Industry

 

top 5 energy efficient countries series germany industry in textIn comparison to that of other countries, Germany’s industrial sector scored relatively high. It has isolated most of its energy usage to chemical, iron, and steel industries. Since 1995, a voluntary agreement between German industry and the federal government has been made to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Updates were made in 2012 to targets for annual reductions in energy intensity until 2020. Also by 2020, Germany intends to obtain 25 percent of its electricity generation from CHP (combined heat and power).

 

 

Room for Improvement

 

top 5 energy efficient countries series germany room for improvement in textWhile Germany had one of the highest scores in the building sector due to the country’s national Energy Saving Ordinance for buildings implemented in 2002, there is still potential to do more. According to the ACEEE, Germany could improve standards for appliances, which could reduce energy intensity of both commercial and residential buildings. Transportation was its lowest scoring sector. Germany being an auto-manufacturing powerhouse has led to personal vehicles being the primary mode of transportation. This leads to little government interest in investing in rail or other public transit systems.

   

Top 5 Energy-Efficient Countries Series: France

Every year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) releases a list of the top 23 most energy-efficient countries. Rankings are based on energy-efficiency for buildings, industry, national, and transportation efforts to reduce energy usage. Each country earns their spot according to accumulated efforts over the previous year.

 

France has been ranked at number four. Here’s a look at a few highlights.

 

 

Energy-Efficient Buildings

 

Top 5 Energy-Efficient Countries Series France - In Text - Energy-Efficient BuildingsFrance’s rank is largely due to the efforts in renovating its buildings to become more energy-efficient. According to the country’s Energy Efficiency Action Plan created in 2014, there are aggressive policies in place to increase the number of low-energy buildings around the country. These policies also include renovating about 500,000 buildings per year to meet the new energy-saving standards for industrial edifices across France.

 

 

National and Transportation Efforts

 

Top 5 Energy-Efficient Countries Series France - In Text - National and Transportation EffortsFrance scored high in the national and transportation efforts due to its involvement with the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive. Under this directive, France has committed to reduce its national energy consumption by at least 17 percent by the year 2020. The country is also involved in the European Union Automotive Fuel Economy Policy. This policy sets a fuel standard of receiving up to 56.9 mpg by the year 2025.

 

 

Areas to Improve

 

Top 5 Energy-Efficient Countries Series France - In Text - Areas to ImproveWhile France has exuded many efforts to increase the overall energy savings of the country, there is always room for improvement. Based on the ACEEE’s assessment, France has a “low percentage of installed capacity from CHP (Combined Heat and Power)”. CHP must be increased and new incentives and targets must be in place in order to improve the industrial area. As far as transportation, the ACEEE has deemed that France should invest in more rails rather than roads. This would increase the efficiency of freight transportation which reduces the energy intensity of the country’s transportation system as a whole.