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Energy efficiency

The first fuel of a sustainable global energy system

The IEA works with policy makers and stakeholders to scale up action on energy efficiency to mitigate climate change, improve energy security and grow economies while delivering environmental and social benefits.

Key findings

Primary energy intensity improvement, 2011-2021


Energy efficiency progress recovers in 2021 but needs to double for net zero by 2050

Energy efficiency trends are expected to return to their ten year average after the worst year in a decade. However, the rate of improvement needs to double from current levels to match the gain outlined in the IEA Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. In 2021, global energy intensity – a key measure of the economy’s energy efficiency – is expected to improve (that is, to fall) by 1.9% after improving by only 0.5% in 2020.

Over the past five years, energy intensity has improved on average by 1.3% a year, down from 2.3% between 2011 and 2016, and well below the 4% described in the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario over 2020-2030.
Our work

In addition to cutting-edge analysis, the IEA also facilitates the exchange of knowledge through our training programs, workshops, and research collaborations, and works to support energy efficiency with partners and at key global fora such as the G7 and G20 and through the Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies Programme (E4).

Convened by IEA’s Executive Director in response to the global slowdown of energy efficiency progress, the Global Commission for Urgent Action on Energy Efficiency examined how progress on energy efficiency can be rapidly accelerated through new and stronger policy action by governments across the globe. It has developed a series of 10 actionable recommendations to support governments in achieving more ambitious action on energy efficiency.

The aims of the 4E TCP are to promote energy efficiency as the key to ensuring safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy systems. As an international platform for collaboration between governments, the 4E TCP provides policy guidance to its members and other governments concerning energy using equipment and systems. The 4E TCP prioritises technologies and applications with significant energy consumption and energy saving potential within the residential, commercial and industrial sectors (not including transport). To meet its aims, the 4E TCP harnesses the expertise of governments, industry, experts and other TCPs for joint research related to the development and deployment of energy efficient equipment.

The mission of the Energy Storage TCP is to facilitate research, development, implementation and integration of energy storage technologies to optimise the energy efficiency of all kinds of energy systems and enable the increasing use of renewable energy. Storage technologies are a central component in energy-efficient and sustainable energy systems. Energy storage is a cross-cutting issue that relies on expert knowledge of many disciplines. The Energy Storage TCP fosters widespread experience, synergies and cross-disciplinary co-ordination of working plans and research goals.

The Users TCP’s mission is to provide evidence from socio-technical research on the design, social acceptance and usability of clean energy technologies to inform policy making for clean, efficient and secure energy transitions. Decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation are embedding energy technologies in the heart of our communities. Communities’ response to these changes and use of energy technologies will determine the success of our energy systems. Poorly designed energy policies, and technologies that do not satisfy users’ needs, lead to ‘performance gaps’ that are both energy and economically inefficient. User-centred energy systems are therefore critical for delivering socially and politically acceptable energy transitions.

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