Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency

From “hidden fuel” to “first fuel”

Energy savings

Energy efficiency improvements reduce the amount of energy use required to provide a service. Energy savings are at the heart of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency and link to many other economic, social and environmental benefits.

Globally, energy efficiency improved by an estimated 13% between 2000 and 2017. Without this improvement, global energy use in 2017 would have been 12% higher – equivalent to adding the annual final energy use of the European Union to the global energy market. In the world’s major economies, the majority of these savings were obtained in the industry and buildings sectors.1

Efficiency-related energy savings by sector, 2000-2017

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Global final energy use with and without energy efficiency, 2000-2017

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The estimated amount of primary energy saved in major economies in 2017 as a result of efficiency gains since 2000 was over 50 EJ. Of these primary energy savings, around 40% came from reduced fuel input to power generation due to reductions in electricity demand. Coal is the largest source of global primary energy savings, as a result of efficiency gains in China. These coal savings are equivalent to over 10% of global coal demand. Natural gas savings were also around 10% of global demand.2

Avoided energy use in 2017 from efficiency improvements since 2000, by fuel 2000-17

Avoided energy use in 2017 from efficiency improvements since 2000, by fuel 2000-17

References
  1. Major economies are IEA countries plus China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russian Federation, South Africa and Argentina. Global energy savings are a combination of improvements in major economies, plus the rest of the world, which represents 25% of global energy use. Energy savings for the rest of the world are estimated by applying the ratio of efficiency improvements to intensity gains observed in emerging economies to the gains in intensity observed in these other countries.

  2. Major economies are IEA countries plus China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russian Federation, South Africa and Argentina. Primary energy savings from power generation are determined based on the generation mix within the countries analysed.