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Germany Tops in Energy Efficiency

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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A U.S.-commissioned study of national energy-efficiency trends returned embarrassing news for the U.S.: The country did not even make the Top 10.

It ranked, in fact, 13th.

The U.S. did crack the Top 10 for its building codes, however, notching eighth worldwide.

The second edition of the International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, conducted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, analyzed the world’s 16 largest economies. The analysis used 31 metrics for each economy and focused on three main areas: buildings, industry and transport.

The Rankings

The 2014 Energy Efficiency Scorecard ranked Germany as No. 1 overall, awarding it 65 of a possible 100 points.

The U.S. scored 42 points, giving it a 13th-place showing ahead of Russia, Brazil and Mexico.

The rankings include Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.


Each country could have attained a maximum of 100 points.

Points can be earned in four categories: buildings, industry, transportation, and national effort. The latter measures overall indicators of energy use at the national level.

The top-scoring countries by category were:

  • Buildings: China;
  • Industry: Germany;
  • Transportation: Italy
  • National Effort: France, Italy and the European Union (three-way tie)

Wasted Resources

According to the report, the U.S. has made progress in energy efficiency over the years, particularly when it comes to building codes.


The U.S. currently ranks 8th when it comes to building codes and continues to make gains the area, according to the report.

The U.S. has also made strides with appliance standards, and voluntary partnerships between government and industry.

On the other hand, the report said, “In the United States, a great deal of resources are wasted, and costs have been allowed to remain unnecessarily high.”

The country ranked 15th in transportation, despite recent improvements in fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles and heavy-duty trucks.

In industry, the U.S. ranked 13th.

“Countries that use energy more efficiently use fewer resources to achieve the same goals, thus reducing costs, preserving valuable natural resources, and gaining a competitive edge over other countries,” the report stated.  

The U.S., however, has improved little since the last ACEEE International Scorecard in 2012 where it ranked ninth out of the 12 countries featured in that report.


Tagged categories: Building codes; Building Envelope; Energy efficiency

Comment from John Fauth, (7/30/2014, 8:10 AM)

I’m not sure I can take any "report" seriously when the top ten energy efficient countries include China, India, Mexico and Russia. Maybe large populations of poverty and inactivity are energy efficient? And just how do you measure "National Effort"?

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (7/30/2014, 9:57 AM)

Whether you measure energy use per capita or per GDP output makes a huge impact. It looks like the methodology used quite the mix of measures with a big hunk of "Policy" (ie - unsubstantiated) and a big hunk of "Performance" (quantifiable.) The number one example they give of how to increase the US score? "The US Congress should pass a national energy savings target." Just set a goal number (and do nothing toward it) in order to score higher. Number two? Providing education, outreach and training from the Feds. Again, no direct impact on actual energy savings or usage. Just "educating" people.

Comment from John Fauth, (7/31/2014, 8:47 AM)

Words - (Action + Results) = National Effort... the new math.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/1/2014, 8:45 AM)

It would actually be interesting if there were an article with breakouts of useful metrics like: energy use per GDP, energy use per capita, transportation fleet efficiency showing passenger and freight separately, building efficiency, et cetera.

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