Improving efficiency is a key focus of the IEA’s global work

Air conditioning demand will be one of the biggest drivers of electricity consumption over the next decades, and is a key “blind spot” of the global energy debate. Energy demand for space cooling could more than triple by 2050, consuming as much electricity as China plus India today, according to our analysis.

But even as air conditioning ownership rates soar, energy demand could be significantly slowed if countries adopted best-in-class efficiency standards. This is the reason why - for the first time ever - the ministers of the Association of South East Asia Nations just gave the IEA a mandate to work on energy efficient cooling.

Meeting long-term climate and air pollution goals will be impossible without major improvements in energy efficiency. Efficiency is a key focus area for the IEA, which conducts a range of activities on energy efficiency including in-depth analysis, sharing best practices with governments around the world, and building capacity with policy makers in emerging economies. The IEA also provides extensive online resources on efficiency, analysis and data.

In particular, the IEA has long-running programmes to curb energy demand growth in emerging economies, and will be holding its next training event for energy efficiency in Bangkok, Thailand, in April. The week-long training event will be focused on energy efficiency policies in the ASEAN region, and will bring together 150 government officials from all ten ASEAN member countries.

The programme will focus on helping countries learn from global experts and from each other on how best to design and implement policies that enhance energy efficiency to bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the region.

“We hope that the IEA’s analysis and policy advice can help the ASEAN region maximize the benefits of energy efficiency to achieve a more affordable, secure and sustainable energy future,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA.

“We are pleased to be working with governments in the ASEAN region on the very important topic of energy efficiency. We thank the Government of Thailand for its leadership and for agreeing to host this important training event. It is fitting that this event takes place during Thailand’s Chairmanship of ASEAN, where energy efficiency features as an important strategic issue for the region.”

Through similar training weeks, we have trained more than 1,000 people from over 90 countries over the last four years. This reflects the IEA’s high ambitions to create a truly global community of practice and expand activities on energy efficiency around the world, including analysis, policy support and sharing of best practice.

The IEA is working with governments around the world on the issue of energy efficient cooling, helping them to seize the opportunity to improve the comfort of homes and productivity of businesses sustainably. In June, we will be holding our 4th annual global conference on energy efficiency in Dublin, with an address by Taoiseach Mr Leo Varadkar, Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland.

The theme of the conference this year is “Modernising Energy Efficiency through Digitalisation,” with a focus on the next generation of efficiency policies using digital technologies and data analytics. The event will also feature senior representatives from major technology companies to outline how innovative technologies can enhance global energy efficiency.

The IEA has also built a large online knowledge resource that includes a strong focus on cooling as well as many other energy efficiency topics of great interest and importance. This global platform allows policy makers and experts to examine the policy options available to them, and review the experience of countries already using them.