Every year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) releases a list of the top 23 most energy-efficient countries. Rankings are based on energy-efficiency for buildings, industry, national, and transportation efforts to reduce energy usage. Each country earns their spot according to accumulated efforts over the previous year.
Italy and Japan have tied at number two. Here’s a look at a few highlights.
Japan came in second in the national efforts category based on the ACEEE report. The country has made a large reduction in energy intensity between 2000 and 2013. Japan also has strong energy saving goals, such as regulating criteria for energy efficiency and setting minimum energy performance standards for energy-consuming devices. With one of the most efficient thermoelectric power systems, Japan is able to utilize heat from solid waste. Italy, on the other hand, needs to improve its national efforts and invest more money into energy efficiency programs. Even though Italy is committed to an energy-savings target under the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Direction, it only saw a 9 percent reduction in overall energy intensity between 2000 and 2013. However, Italy’s strong showing in other areas helped it to tie for the number two spot.
Both countries tied with 16 points in the area of conserving energy through transportation. Italy participates in the EU’s vehicle standards program and plans to reach up to 56.9 mpg fleet-wide by 2025. Currently, Italy’s average mpg per vehicle is about 38.6. Japan established the first fuel economy program for heavy-duty vehicles in 2005 and is one of only four countries to do so to date. Japan also hopes to reach a fleet-wide 45.9 mpg by 2025.
Italy has set standards in the industrial sector by establishing energy conservation targets. The country now requires all plant managers to meet these targets while implementing periodic audits. According to Italy’s report, a market-based energy efficiency scheme is the key to achieving the country’s industrial sector’s savings goal, which is set at 5.1 Mtoe (Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent). Japan also did very well in this section of the analysis. Japan’s efforts toward a more energy-efficient industry include regulatory measures and voluntary actions. For example, The Act Concerning the Rational Use of Energy set mandatory requirements for designated industries back in 1978 and continues to be the foundation of standards, updated every year. Some of these requirements include appointing an energy manager that reports the status of energy consumption annually and implementing a benchmark system that requires companies to set medium and long-term energy-saving goals. However, Japan could also improve in this section of the analysis by implementing more government support and financial backing.