Study places the US and Australia near bottom of the list
July 18, 2014 4:39PM ET
Germany is the most energy efficient country in the world, according to a study published Friday, while China is rapidly improving its energy efficiency.
The study by the Washington, D.C.-based American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranked the world’s 16 major economies according to which countries had done the most to gain energy efficiency.
Germany took the top spot because of its mandatory codes requiring both residential and commercial buildings to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent, putting them at 2008 levels by 2020.
"We are pleased to win a second title in a week's time," Philipp Ackermann, the deputy chief of mission at the German embassy in Washington, told reporters on a conference call earlier Friday, referring the country’s recent World Cup victory.
Ackermann added that Germany’s economy has managed to grow while increasing efficiency and reducing the negative environmental affects that come with the energy trade.
"We all agree, I think – the cheapest energy is the energy you don't have to produce in the first place," Ackermann said.
Italy came in second, with the help of its efficiency in transit, and the European Union as a whole came in third. China and France both tied for fourth, with Britain rounding out the top five.
Mexico was ranked at the bottom of the list, and experts say they are concerned that efforts to improve efficiency in the United States and Australia are not moving along quickly enough.
Australia, which abolished a carbon tax on Thursday, landed in 10th place. The country got high marks for its efforts to conserve energy during building construction and manufacturing, but was last in terms of efficiency in transportation.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is skeptical about climate change, and the study noted there was a “clear backward trend” of consumption in the nation.
The United States, the world’s largest economy, was near the bottom of the list, at 13th place. The study said the U.S. has made some progress but wastes a “tremendous” amount of energy.
2014 energy efficiency scores