In recent years we have seen real benefits from energy efficiency. In 2016, in China, the average household saw a 25 percent drop in energy bills due to efficiency efforts. In the same year, German consumers saved nearly $580 per person, due to home and vehicle-related efficiency programs. Countries that have already reached relatively low energy intensities, such as Japan and Italy, continue to make progress, too. Yet, despite the cost-effective savings and wide-ranging health and environmental benefits, few countries are prioritizing energy efficiency in their economies. Also, investment in energy efficiency is nowhere near the required levels. We need to see larger gains in the residential sector, which is the fastest growing energy-consuming sector, especially in low-income countries.
Efficiency measures are needed to alleviate the energy demands of protecting vulnerable populations from extreme heat through cooling. There is also a growing need for transport infrastructure and services. Providing sustainable solutions to these two priorities is essential to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG7), and a failure to act could lock in a high-carbon future.
It is astounding that more than 2/3 of total global energy use is not covered by efficiency mandates or standards. Our Energy Efficiency First work continues our focus on influencing policymakers to extend policy frameworks for energy efficiency across the entire economy. We also accelerate specific action under two interventions: Cooling for All engages leaders to protect the world’s most vulnerable populations from intensifying global heat; and Energy and Transport examines mobility programs in urban environments that provide value and impact to human health, productivity and economic development developing countries.