Germany, Italy, and Japan ranked the top countries in the world when it comes to using energy efficiently. And Canada?
We’re middle of the pack, an un-inspiring tenth.
Countries like Poland, Turkey, and Indonesia bring up the rear (and Saudia Arabia is dead last).
The 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published by the non-profit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), examines the energy efficiency policies and performance of 23 of the world’s top energy-consuming countries. Together these nations represent 75% of all the energy consumed on the planet and in 2013 accounted for over 80% of the world’s gross domestic product.
Germany claimed the top spot in their rankings this year with a score of 73.5 out of 100. Canada scored 59, with the average being 51.
ACEEE examined efficiency in buildings, industry, and transportation, the three largest end-use energy categories, and overall national efforts toward improving energy efficiency. Analysis was based on policy and performance. For instance, they assessed presence/absence of efficiency policies such as national targets for energy efficiency, building and appliance labeling, and fuel economy standards for vehicles. On performance, they looked at actual energy use per unit of activity or service extracted, the efficiency of thermal power plants, energy intensities of buildings and industry, and average on-road vehicle fuel economy.
Canada’s national efforts toward improving energy efficiency ranked fourth of 23 countries – trailing only Germany, Japan, and France. On building-sector energy efficiency Canada had aa relatively good score of 5th, although behind the United States. Germany took first place in the buildings section with a total score of 19.5 points out of 25. Following closely behind were the United States, China, and France.
Germany excelled in the building codes and retrofit categories, earning the top score for both metrics. The German government has also implemented mandatory building- and appliance-labeling programs. The United States earned the most points for its appliance standards. The report said that in general, building labeling and performance standards for appliances and equipment seemed to be standard practices in the evaluated countries, although the comprehensiveness of the building-labeling programs and the number of appliances covered by standards varied by country.
Our performance was weaker in the industry and transportation categories, where we tied for fourteenth place.
The report recognized that a number of factors affect energy use including climate and geography, but did not adjust the data to reflect those impacts. Clearly Canada uses more energy for heating than many other countries, and its size results in higher energy use for transportation. Not surprisingly, ACEEE said that Canada would benefit from energy efficiency improvements to its transportation sector. Only 2.9% of travel occurs on public transport in Canada, so we scored very poorly on vehicle miles traveled per capita and also ranked poorly in use of public transit and investment in rail systems.
ACEEE said that all of the countries they evaluated have substantial opportunities to improve their energy efficiency. Low-scoring developing countries have great potential to build energy efficiency into their continued economic growth. More developed counterparts, like Canada, should lead by example and implement ambitious policies that will further reduce energy consumption.
ACEEE rankings by country (out of 100 points)
- Germany 73.5
- (tie) Italy 68.5
- Japan 68.5
- France 67.5
- Britain 65
- China 64
- Spain 62
- (tie) South Korea 61.5
- United States 61.5
- Canada 59
- Netherlands 58
- Poland 53.5
- Taiwan 51
- India 48.5
- Turkey 46.5
- Australia 41
- Russia 38
- Indonesia 37.5
- Mexico 37
- Thailand 36.5
- South Africa 33
- Brazil 32.5
- Saudi Arabia 15.5