Energy efficiency has been aptly dubbed ‘the first fuel’: it is widely available, it represents a cost effective investment and it increases competitiveness. Not least, improvements in energy efficiency can bring about other positive economic, social and environmental impacts, such as enhanced energy security, increased job creation, decreased greenhouse gas emissions, and reduced air pollution, both locally and globally.
Yet, the promise of such positive impacts has not generally been enough to spur more widespread improvements in energy efficiency, at least not to the degree that the breadth of these impacts might suggest. Experience shows that price stimuli alone cannot unlock the full potential of energy efficiency: a complex mix of market and behavioural determinants hinders the adoption of more efficient technologies in ways that are not fully understood. Understanding the barriers to, and enablers for, energy efficiency requires targeted information and analysis. This report is a summary of four detailed studies providing new insights on how to promote efficiency in selected priority areas. It complements initiatives such as the so-called energy efficiency accelerators, which seek to increase the uptake of selected technologies, as well as the work of many other institutions committed to improving energy efficiency