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UK among world's most efficient countries

A report from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has recently been released, ranking countries on their energy efficiency. The UK was ranked in the number five position, indicating that it's one of the world's most energy efficiency countries.

The 23 countries involved in the study combined represent 75 per cent of global energy consumption. The study looked at 35 metrics to evaluate each country's national commitment to energy efficiency, as well as its efficiency policies and performance in the buildings, industry and transportation sectors. It also examined national efforts to control energy usage.

For the third year in a row, Germany was ranked the highest. It was followed by Italy, Japan and France. The three lowest-scoring countries were South Africa, Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

It seems that the UK's ranking could have been higher, but recent changes to policies - such as the abolishment of the Green Deal, a 20 per cent cut to future spending and a 33 per cent cut to the Energy Efficiency Obligations (ECO) target - may have impacted the results. The ECO is an efficiency scheme designed to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty. It requires energy suppliers to fund the installation of energy efficiency measures - like thermal wall insulation in British households. 

The report also noted that the UK has strong policies in place to improve fuel economy and advance vehicle technologies, but that more should be done to improve the overall efficiency of freight and transport systems.

Steven Nadel, executive Director at ACEEE, pointed out that energy efficiency can be one of the cheapest ways of meeting new energy demands. He added that governments that encourage investment in energy efficiency and implement policies can help to save citizens money, while reducing pollution and dependence on energy imports. 

But he also warned that many countries are still not making the most of the opportunities that energy efficiency can provide: "Energy efficiency remains massively underutilised globally despite its proven multiple benefits and its potential to become the single largest resource to meet growing energy demand worldwide."