The United Kingdom probably won’t win the most medals in the 2012 London Olympics, but the host nation was tops in another recent global contest: the ACEEE 2012 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, a ranking of 12 of the world’s largest economies by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. China and the United States, favorites to climb the most podiums in London, came in sixth and ninth respectively.
The full rankings, which focused on buildings, industry and transportation are as follows: (1) the U.K.; (2) Germany; (3) Italy; (4) Japan; (5) France; (6) the European Union, Australia, and China (3-way tie); (9) the U.S.; (10) Brazil; (11) Canada; and (12) Russia.
Out of a possible 100 points, the U.S. received an overall score of 47, a full 20 points behind the leader. “The U.K. and the leading economies of Europe are now well ahead of the United States when it comes to energy efficiency,” said ACEEE executive director Steven Nadel in the news release. “This is significant because countries that use energy more efficiently require fewer resources to achieve the same goals, thus reducing costs, preserving valuable natural resources, and creating jobs.”
The report outlines several recommendations that could help the U.S. become more energy efficient, including:
- A national energy savings target. Congress should pass a national energy savings target to complement existing state policies and raise the bar for all states. Most countries analyzed in the Scorecard have such targets. In the interim, the states without mandatory targets for utility energy savings should adopt them.
- Efficiency in manufacturing. Manufacturers should commit to continual improvement in energy efficiency by using Superior Energy Performance ISO 50001 (ISO 2011) and other voluntary platforms.
- Financial incentives. States and the federal government should implement improved financial incentives, such as tax credits, loans, and loan-loss reserves, to spur private investment in energy efficiency.
To view the complete report, go to ACEEE.org. Consumer Reports is preparing its next report on home energy savings, which will include new reviews of lightbulbs, generators and space heaters, among other things. Look for it online and on newsstands in early September.