How “Energy Efficiency” can help cut Emissions/Carbon Footprint!
In order to limit the growth of energy demand, the rapid and large-scale introduction of energy efficiency measures is important. It is a prerequisite for achieving the decarbonization path proposed by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in the "net zero emissions" scenario. Without such measures, the deployment of clean energy sources would be overtaken by rapidly growing energy demand.
IRENA's 1.5°C pathway identifies electrification and efficiency as key drivers of the energy transition, enabled by renewables, hydrogen, and sustainable biomass. IRENA has developed opportunities for reducing emissions by 2050 through six technology pathways (see figure).
Contribution of energy efficiency to greenhouse gas reductions in key sectors:
Standards for electric motors have already contributed to efficiency improvements in advanced economies. However, if all countries had adopted and tightened standards for electric motors, current global industrial electricity consumption could have been
reduced by ~16%.
Without improvements in industrial energy efficiency since 2000, an additional 25 exa-joules (EJ) (20%) of energy consumption would have been required in the industrial and service sectors. This is equivalent to India's total final energy consumption and would have resulted in additional greenhouse gas emissions of 2.4 gigatons of CO2 equivalent.
Since 2000, energy savings of 14 EJ have been achieved, equivalent to Brazil's total energy consumption. This savings is equivalent to an avoided capacity addition of ~200 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generating capacity. This would have reduced CO2 emissions by ~1.0 gigatons of CO2 equivalent.
Buildings could be nearly 40% more energy efficient in 2040 than today. Annual investment in efficient buildings and appliances is expected to increase from ~EUR140 billion in 2017 to ~EUR220 billion in 2025 and further to EUR360 billion in 2040.
Energy efficiency in the transport sector can be achieved through better transport policies for cars and trucks, as well as for other transport modes. Without energy efficiency improvements, road transport would consume an additional 1.2 million barrels of oil per day (mb/d).
However, an additional 2.2 million barrels per day could be saved if all standards were as good as best-in-class, representing a potential savings of about 0.35 gigatons of CO2 equivalent.