Germany has more to celebrate than just its thrilling World Cup victory this week.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy released its 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard this week, and Germany was awarded the number 1 spot.
The rankings were based on a receiving 100 possible points in a total of 31 categories. These categories were broken into four main groups: those that track cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, and the three main energy-consuming sectors in economically developed countries: buildings, industry, and transportation.
The 16 economies eligible to be ranked represent more than 81 percent of global GDP and 71 percent of global energy consumption.
There organization had high praise for Germany. “Germany is a prime example of a nation that has made energy efficiency a top priority,” ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said.
Germany was, of course, honored to be recognized. “We are very pleased that Germany ranks first in ACEEE’s analysis of energy efficiency efforts among the world’s 16 largest economies. We see this as a validation that Germany’s measures are bearing fruit in its ongoing efforts to transition towards a low-carbon and energy-efficient economy,” Dr. Phillip Ackermann, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, said. “At the same time, we will continue to strive for further improvements. Energy efficiency is the second pillar of Germany’s transformation of its energy system alongside the expansion of renewable energies. Every kilowatt hour of electricity that is not consumed saves on fossil fuels and the construction of power plants and grids.”
While Germany is focused on improving energy efficiency, the country who needs the most improvement is the U.S.
“The United States, long considered an innovative and competitive world leader, has progressed slowly and has made limited progress since our last report, even as Germany, Italy, China, and other nations surge ahead,” Nadel said.
Recognizing the disappointing result Vermont Congressman Peter Welch said, “There’s really no excuse for the U.S. lagging behind other nations on energy efficiency. States like Vermont have demonstrated that energy efficiency saves money, reduces environmental impact, and creates jobs. And, in an environment of gridlock, there is bipartisan common ground on this issue in Congress. I hope the 2014 International Scorecard is a wakeup call that it’s time for America to step-up and lead on energy efficiency.”
In keeping with Congressman Welch’s hopes, the report offers a path to improvement for the U.S., rather than a pessimistic outlook. It breaks down the suggestions for improvement into the four main categories countries were ranked on.
For our national efforts, the report suggests we need a savings energy target, like the one proposed in HR 5072. The bill, which was introduced by Congressman Welch on July 10 of this year, aims to “amend title VI of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to establish a Federal renewable electricity standard for retail electricity suppliers and a Federal energy efficiency resource standard for electricity and natural gas suppliers, and for other purposes.” The bill points to the need for greater competition in the green energy market and the vast renewable energy resources the country has yet to utilize. It would also implement electricity and natural gas saving standards that would call for reduction of each by 15 and 10 percent, respectively, by 2025. Also essential to the bill would be reviews every ten years provided by the National Academy of Science that would detail the U.S.’s energy situation.
The report’s other suggestions also include updating building codes, support of the manufacturing industry in order for it to improve energy efficiency, and increased funding for more energy-efficient modes of transportation.
The U.S.’ score hasn’t changed much since the first report was filed in 2012.
Others in need of improvement are Brazil, Mexico, and the Russia, who hold the bottom three spots.
The full report can be found here, which details key factors for each country.