Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency

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.

Energy efficiency reduces energy use worldwide

Globally, energy efficiency improvements achieved 13% energy savings between 2000 and 2016. Without this improvement, global energy use in 2016 would have been 12% higher – equivalent to adding the annual final energy use of the European Union to the global energy market. Energy savings from efficiency improvements in IEA member countries make up nearly half of the global total, equivalent to the current energy use of Germany, France and the United Kingdom combined, with the major emerging economies (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Russia), accounting for around 40%.

Figure 1. Final energy use with and without energy savings from efficiency improvements globally (left) and by country grouping (right)

Source: Energy Efficiency 2017
Notes: Global energy savings are a combination of improvements in IEA member countries, the six major emerging economies analysed, plus the rest of the world, which represents 26% 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.

Energy efficiency reduces the need for additional primary energy

The total primary energy saved in 2016 compared with 2000 as a result of end-use efficiency gains was 30 EJ in IEA member countries and 23 EJ in the major emerging economies. Of these primary energy savings, around 40% came from reduced fuel input to power generation due to reductions in electricity demand.

Coal decline leading energy savings

Coal was the largest source of global primary energy savings in 2016, mostly due to energy savings in China. After coal, the next largest primary energy savings were in natural gas, with savings equivalent to 11% of global gas demand. Global oil savings, due almost entirely to efficiency improvements in passenger transport, are equivalent to 3.6 million barrels of oil per day (mb/d), equivalent to the daily oil consumption of Japan.

Figure 2. Avoided annual primary energy demand in IEA member countries and major emerging economies from efficiency improvements since 2000 by fuel

Source: Energy Efficiency 2017

Without the electricity savings made in IEA member countries and major emerging economies, global electricity use would have been 14% higher in 2016. To meet this additional demand, more than 1000 GW of additional power plant capacity would have been needed at an investment cost of USD 1.9 trillion.

Figure 3. Energy savings from energy efficiency improvements by regional grouping, 2000-15


Source: Energy Efficiency 2017
Note: Primary energy savings from power generation are determined based on the generation mix within IEA member and major emerging economies