International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol.  Picture: REUTERS/Max Rossi
International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol. Picture: REUTERS/Max Rossi

Paris — Improvements in energy efficiency helped households worldwide save up to 30% of their annual energy budget last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report on Thursday.

Savings of between 10% and 30% were made around the world as global energy intensity — the amount of energy used per GDP — fell by 1.8%, according to the IEA.

In Germany, consumers saved about $580 on energy for their cars and homes in 2016 thanks to more efficient usage, the IEA said. In China, households would have spent 25% more on energy without the improvements.

The Paris-based organisation, however, warned the acceleration in energy efficiencies in the production of goods and services over the past decade was at risk due to current policy trends.

"There was a noticeable slowdown in the implementation of new policies in 2016, and this trend appears to be continuing in 2017," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement. "Countries should focus on attacking the 68% of global energy use that is not covered by efficiency codes or standards," Birol said.

The current level of efficiency gains will be wiped out quickly if the pace of policy delivery does not accelerate, the IEA said.

Global investment in energy efficiency increased by 9% in 2016 to $231bn, with China showing the strongest growth, while Europe was responsible for the largest share in efficiency investments. Although efficiency improved in the industrial sector, there is still room for policy advances in the building and transportation sectors, the IEA said.

Global sales of more energy efficient electric vehicles soared 40% in 2016, as more models reached the market and the performance of the vehicles improved. However, the IEA said only four countries regulate the efficiency of trucks, which represent 43% of total oil consumption for road transport, and just 16% of energy used in trucks worldwide is covered by efficiency policies.

In the housing sector, demand for air conditioning is growing fastest in countries with the weakest regulation in the sector, while globally policies have focused mainly on building structures rather than heating and cooling equipment, it said.

Reuters

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