UK becoming ‘sick man of Europe’ on energy efficiency: report


European CommissionThe UK is ranked 27th out of 28 member states for progress on energy efficiency, according to a survey of energy experts across the bloc. In 2012, it was ranked 13th. The UK is now also perceived as having the lowest level of progress in building renovation.

Experts interviewed for the Energy Efficiency Watch Project, co-funded by the Commission, said the UK was too focused on the supply side because policy and decision makers do not see energy efficiency as an opportunity. Around 30% believed the UK has little chance of meeting Energy Efficiency Directive targets on current trajectories, although the fact that almost two thirds of experts polled were not aware of the EED target to save 1.5% of energy sales to final consumers calls into question their level of expertise.

Within the public sector, experts cited the removal of energy efficiency refurbishment targets for local authorities as a cause for regret. Energy Performance Contract uptake was low, they said, and potential projects were threatened by further budget cuts.

Among all member states, the UK experts see the lowest level of progress in building renovation. They called for more systemic incentives to generate demand for energy efficiency in both the residential and service sectors (e.g. a tax scheme).

Across the bloc, only Spain ranked lower for progress on energy efficiency. Italy, which languished in 27th in 2012, has made the most progress since then, and is now ranked 13th, an exact opposite of the UK’s trajectory.


Government changes and austerity measures had led to some steep fluctuations in member state progress, noted the report. That would continue, it stated, “as long as the multiple benefits of energy efficiency are not sufficiently understood by national policy makers and stakeholders and have not become an integral part of security and economic policy – instead of “just” a climate policy.

“In some European countries, the understanding of the positive economic, environmental and social impacts of energy efficiency has already allowed it to become independent of political fluctuation and an inherent part of energy and economic policies,” it concluded.

See the full report here.

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