A new report finds that governments are paying closer attention to energy conservation programmes as part of meeting emissions reduction targets.
The report by The Economist Intelligence Unit cites International Energy Agency research showing that in 2030, energy efficiency will account for 49 per cent of global greenhouse gas reduction.
The initiatives fall into three main categories: increasing access to information on energy use and ways to reduce it; offering incentives in the form of grants, loans or tax breaks for upgrades; and supporting or directly providing energy-use labelling and ratings systems for products and for buildings.
Gains-sharing deals between building owners and tenants, in which tenants’ energy charges are based on actual use and tenants share some of the costs of upgrades, have proven useful in boosting the energy efficiency of buildings, the research finds. The US ‘energy star’ product labelling scheme has also been successful in saving energy and reducing emissions.
However the report states that while promoting investment in energy efficiency, governments have identified a risk in the ‘rebound effect’, in which consumers – encouraged by greater energy efficiency of appliances – buy more gadgets that drive up their overall energy use.