The traditional focus on energy savings as the main goal of energy efficiency policy has, at times, led to an underestimation of the full value of energy efficiency in both national and global economies. Energy efficiency can bring multiple benefits, such as enhancing the sustainability of the energy system, supporting strategic objectives for economic and social development, promoting environmental goals and increasing prosperity.
The aim of this book is two-fold: to build knowledge of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency, and to demonstrate how policy makers and other stakeholders can use existing tools to measure and maximise the benefits they seek. Five key benefits areas – macroeconomic development; public budgets; health and well-being; industrial productivity; and energy delivery – are investigated in-depth, with compelling results. When the value of multiple benefits is calculated alongside traditional benefits of energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, investments in energy efficiency measures have delivered returns as high as four US dollars for every one US dollar invested. Considering multiple benefits also has important implications for unravelling one of the persistent challenges in energy efficiency – the rebound effect – revealing that it is not always negative. In fact, the rebound effect often signals a positive outcome in terms of achieving broader social and economic goals.
By identifying and quantifying a broader range of impacts of energy efficiency, the multiple benefits approach repositions energy efficiency as a mainstream tool for economic and social development, and has the potential to motivate higher uptake of energy efficiency opportunities in the market.
Source: International Energy Agency
Publication Date: September 2014