The term "multiple benefits" aims to capture a reality that is often overlooked: investment in energy efficiency can provide many different benefits to many different stakeholders. In other literature, the multiple benefits of energy efficiency have been variously labelled "co-benefits", "ancillary benefits" and "non-energy benefits" – terms often used interchangeably with “multiple benefits”. The IEA uses the term multiple benefits, which is broad enough to reflect the heterogeneous nature of outcomes of energy efficiency improvements and to avoid pre-emptive prioritisation of various benefits; different benefits will be of interest to different stakeholders.

Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency

IEA report shows the multiple benefits of energy efficiency and calls on governments to invest more resources to harness them More »»

About the multiple benefits of energy efficiency

Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency

Multiple Benefits‌The IEA study of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency s‌eeks to expand the perspective of energy efficiency beyond the traditional measures of reduced energy demand and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by identifying and measuring its impacts across many different spheres. By revealing the potential of energy efficiency to support economic growth, enhance social development, advance environmental sustainability, ensure energy-system security and help build prosperity, this work repositions energy efficiency as a mainstream tool for economic and social development.

IEA work on this topic began in 2011, and has identified at least 15 distinct benefits, from health and well-being to improved industrial productivity (see the figure below). 

Early investigations of these multiple benefits suggest that they are significant, however they are left out of most policy and programme evaluations for various reasons, including lack of relevant data and evaluation methods, estimation challenges and perceived credibility risk. 

Benefits daisywheelA multiple-benefits perspective helps to understand the impacts, as well as the sources and causes, of an observed rebound effect and accordingly to manage better any trade-offs that might take place.

Expert roundtables

This publication was supported by a two-year research programme including broad consultation with a range of international experts who make up the Multiple Benefits Network and a series of expert roundtable discussions on several key benefits areas in order to share experience, discuss issues and challenges, and assemble good practice policy and evaluation approaches.

Related Material

2014 Press release: Energy efficiency: a key tool for boosting economic and social development

2012 Insights paper: Spreading the Net: The multiple benefits of energy efficiency improvements

2013 Roundtable Report: Roundtable on the Health & Well-being Impacts of Energy Efficiency Improvements

2011 Workshop Report: Evaluating the co-benefits of low-income energy-efficiency programmes

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