The communication highlights many benefits that have come as a result of the EU's drive towards greater energy efficiency. For instance, in the UK, a specialised department helps to design policies on the basis of research on how consumer decisions about energy efficiency can be stimulated.
Looking at all the benefits, proven advantages for business and consumers include:
- Energy intensity in EU industry has decreased by almost 19% between 2001 and 2011;
- More efficient appliances like refrigerators and washing machines are expected to save consumers €100 billion (£80bn) annually – about €465 (£372) per household – on their energy bills by 2020;
- New buildings consume half as much energy today as they did in the 1980s.
The Communication also explores the positive impacts of energy efficiency on the lives of Europeans over the next sixteen years:
- For every additional 1 percent in energy savings, EU gas imports are expected to fall by 2.6%, decreasing our dependence on external suppliers;
- More energy efficient buildings will offer 'ancillary benefits' to people who live and work in them in addition to reducing their energy bills. For example, better windows can provide for increased air quality and protection from external noise;
- Energy efficiency policies will create new opportunities for European businesses such as construction firms and equipment manufacturers. In line with this, new local jobs are created.
Günther Oettinger, Vice-President of the EU Commission responsible for energy said: "Our proposal is the basis to drive the EU towards increased security of supply, innovation and sustainability, all in an affordable way. It is ambitious and at the same time it is realistic. The energy efficiency strategy will complete the 2030 framework on energy and climate which has been presented in January 2014. Our aim is to give the right signal to the market and encourage further investments in energy saving technologies to the benefit of businesses, consumers and the environment."
The European Commission will review progress on energy efficiency in 2017. It will explore the question whether additional indicators should be used to express and monitor progress towards the energy efficiency target. This could be indicators, such as energy intensity, which better take account of underlying changes in and projections for GDP and population growth.