Everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask about Europe’s First Energy Source

Much lip service has been paid to energy efficiency and energy savings in political and policy discourse, particularly in relation to climate and energy goals. No speech, presentation or policy paper in the field would be considered complete without a reference to how important they are. The European Commission’s Roadmap to a Low Carbon Economy relies heavily on energy savings to put Europe on the right trajectory to meet its commitment of making 80-95% greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2050.

However there remains a large gap between the purported enthusiasm for energy efficiency and savings as a concept, and the conviction needed to make it happen on the ground. At current rates of progress, Europe is worryingly far off course to meet its target to cut primary energy use by 20% by 2020.

There are many explanations for this slow progress. But one factor which definitely doesn’t help is the haziness and confusion which tends to surround energy efficiency and savings as a policy area. As you will see from quotes scattered through this booklet, this lack of clarity is frequently exacerbated by the very decision-makers who should be leading the charge towards lower EU energy consumption.

2011 will be an important year for EU policy on energy efficiency and savings, with vital new legislative proposals set to follow publication of the long-awaited Energy Efficiency Plan (EEP). Focus on the topic is stronger than ever, with growing realization of the central place optimization of our energy use has in putting Europe on course to become a resource efficient, low carbon economy.

This brochure aims to demystify energy efficiency and energy savings as policy area, and to dispel some of the most common myths and misunderstandings that often impede discussions about it. In so doing, we hope that it may assist the effort to finally put in place a comprehensive, fully-functioning framework for reducing our energy use.

Download CAN-Europe “Energy Efficiency and Savings – Clearing the fog” (Mar.2011)