So, what would you do with a spare US$30 billion? Build a few schools and hospitals? Help the vulnerable and create jobs for the unemployed?
In 2014 that was the amount Germany saved in fossil fuel imports as a result of energy efficiency improvements implemented over the past 25 years, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The impact of this clean 100% home-grown resource was so dramatic that the country’s trade surplus was boosted by a staggering 12%.
And the success of energy efficiency investment is not limited to Germany.
In its new Energy Efficiency Market Report, the IEA says investments in energy efficiency over the past 25 years — “for example through the use of better insulation” — saved its 29 member countries a total of US$80 billion in fossil fuel imports last year.
“The report also found that avoided energy consumption from these investments saved US$550 billion for consumers in IEA member countries in 2014. That’s around the same amount as the European Union spent on fuel imports for the entire year,” says Barry Lynham, Director of Strategy and Communication at Knauf Insulation.
“60% of Germany’s energy efficiency investments are directed to existing building retrofits, with government policies and funding playing an important catalytic role. Can you imagine how much more the EU could achieve if all European governments increased their commitment to the energy efficient renovation of buildings?”
The IEA also wants to see a higher level of ambition. Global energy efficiency investment in buildings is estimated to be between US$80 billion and US$100 billion a year at present and is projected to increase to US$125 billion by 2020.
But this level falls far short of the estimated US$215 billion needed by that time to achieve the IEA’s climate change mitigation goals to cut CO2 emissions by half in 2050, says the report.
“The report’s findings show what is being achieved with energy efficiency but what could also be achieved if we set our goals even higher,” says Barry Lynham. “It should be required reading for every policy maker on the planet.”
Other highlights included:
Global energy efficiency investment in buildings (excluding appliances) is estimated to have been USD 90 billion (+/- 10%) in 2014, with significant potential for additional profitable investments.
Investment in energy efficiency in buildings globally is growing more rapidly than overall growth of building construction.
New building construction is driving most of the investment in building energy efficiency in China (with its construction boom) and in the United States. Investment in new buildings is particularly high in China (70%) and the United States (60%). In contrast, 60% of energy efficiency investment in Germany is directed to existing building retrofits, with government policies and funding playing an important catalytic role.
Global energy efficiency investment in buildings is projected to increase to over USD 125 billion (excluding appliances) by 2020. This level, however, falls far short of the estimated USD 215 billion needed by that time to achieve the climate change mitigation goals set out in the 2-Degree Scenario (2DS) of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Government investment is catalysing significant additional investments from industry and consumers. Germany invested USD 2.4 billion in 2013 for a residential energy efficiency programme that stimulated almost USD 14 billion in energy efficiency investment and a total of USD 45 billion in residential construction.
A key challenge for the future is that the global buildings market is large and highly disaggregated. Decisions on energy efficiency are taken by multiple players – governments, industry and consumers – based
For more information download the full report: http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/MediumTermEnergyefficiencyMarketReport2015.pdf