UK Leads, US Lags In Global Energy Efficiency Ranking


The United Kingdom has topped an energy efficiency ranking of the world’s 12 largest economies, while the United States placed a disappointing ninth overall, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, the first-ever of its kind, analyzed nations collectively representing 78 percent of global gross domestic product, 63 percent of global energy consumption, and 62 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Countries could have scored a total of 100 points spread across four categories: buildings, industry, transportation, and national efficiency.

ACEEE awarded the U.K. 67 points for its energy efficiency efforts, ranking the country first among all nations with 18 of 24 possible industry points and 14 of 23 possible transportation points. Germany ranked a close overall second with 66 points, followed by Italy with 63 points, and Japan with 62 points. France led the second tier with 60 points, while Australia, China, and the European Union rounded out the group tied at 56 points.

The U.S. sat atop the bottom tier with 47 points, followed only by Brazil with 41, Canada with 37, and Russia with 36 points. ACEEE pulled no punches when it came to America’s poor rank, focusing on low scores in public transportation, vehicle fuel-efficiency, national energy efficiency goals, and industrial efficiency. Beyond higher energy bills and greater emissions, this overall inefficiency could drag down the national economy.

“Across most metrics analyzed, in the past decade the United States has made limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level…(other) countries may have an economic advantage over the United States because using less energy to produce and transport the same economic output costs less. Their efforts toward efficiency likely make their economies more nimble and resilient.”

The entire energy efficiency story for America wasn’t negative, however. ACEEE did credit some areas of improvement, namely in building codes, appliance standards, government-industry partnerships, and recent vehicle fuel economy standards.

One overall message stands out from ACEEE’s scorecard – every nation should be taking steps to improve their overall energy efficiency efforts. The average score for analyzed countries was only 54 points and “every country has serious weaknesses,” even though the conditions required for a perfect score are currently achievable and in practice, found the report’s authors.

Article by Silvio Marcacci, appearing courtesy Earth & Industry.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.


  1. What makes the UK so good in energy efficiency? I would like to know what they do to be more efficient.

  2. Although I’m pleased to see the UK at the top of this list, I have to wonder how accurate a picture that really is, since there’s a lot more that we could be doing as a nation currently…