EU Science Hub

Energy efficiency

Improving the efficiency with which energy is consumed by end-users is a central theme of the European Union's energy policy. Energy efficiency is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to reduce CO2 emissions, contribute to energy security, and help to create new jobs and make European organisation more competitive.

Energy efficiency is at the heart of the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and of the transition to a resource efficient economy. Energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective ways to enhance security of energy supply, and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. In many ways, energy efficiency can be seen as Europe's biggest energy resource. This is why the EU has set itself a target for 2020 of saving 20% of its primary energy consumption compared to projections, and why this objective was identified in the European Commission’s Communication on Energy 2020 as a key step towards achieving our long-term energy and climate goals.

The JRC provides technical and scientific advice to the Commission's services for the design, implementation and monitoring of EU energy efficiency policies and programmes. Moreover a number of EU programmes are directly managed by the JRC on behalf of the Commission's Directorate-General for Energy.

More information:

Energy Efficiency - project website

Policy support for Energy Services Directive

Over the past number of decades, reducing energy consumption and improving energy efficiency have become more and more important. Because of this, the JRC supports policy in the field of energy, which includes the areas of energy service companies and suppliers obligations and White Certificates.

Suppliers obligations and White Certificates

With the increasing importance of establishing long-term synergies between end-use energy efficiency and energy market opening a number of EU member states have embarked on implementing energy efficiency policy portfolios that consist of energy saving obligations imposed on some category of energy market operators, in some cases coupled with a trading system for energy efficiency measures resulting in certified energy savings (tradable white certificates, TWCs).The JRC is providing scientific assessment of these innovative policy instruments.

More information

Suppliers obligations and White Certificates

JRC support to energy efficiency directives

Energy Service Companies

In recent years there has been an increased interest in the provision of energy services to achieve energy and environmental goals. In particular some new companies providing energy services to final energy users, including the supply and installations of energy efficient equipment, and/or the refurbishment of the building, have started to operate on the European market.

The Covenant of Mayors

The Covenant of Mayors is a commitment by signatory towns and cities to go beyond the objectives of EU energy policy in terms of reduction in CO2 emissions through enhanced energy efficiency and cleaner energy production and use.

Lighting initiative

The GreenLight Programme is an on-going voluntary programme whereby private and public organisations commit towards the European Commission to reducing their lighting energy use, thus reducing polluting emissions. GreenLight was launched in February 2000.

In the area of residential lighting, studies conducted by the JRC show a huge potential for saving energy through better energy in residential lighting. In particular, following the phasing out of incandescent lighting, new lighting technologies such as Solid State Lighting offer very high efficiency levels and other advantages.

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GreenLight Programme

JRC support to residential lighting

Energy in buildings

In 2005 the European Commission launched the GreenBuilding Programme (GBP). GreenBuilding is a voluntary programme aiming at improving the energy efficiency of non-residential buildings in Europe on a voluntary basis. The programme addresses owners of non-residential buildings to realise cost-effective measures which enhance the energy efficiency of their buildings in one or more technical services. The programme covers both existing and new buildings.

More information

GreenBuilding brochure

JRC support to the GreenBuilding Programme

EU codes of conduct for ICT

Increasing use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) leads to increased electricity consumption. Stand-by power consumption is an increasing fraction of EU electricity use and the fast penetration of new and digital technology is likely to increase this share. It is estimated that stand-by power already accounts for about 10% of the electricity use in homes and offices of the EU Member States.

Motor challenge programme

The Motor challenge programme is a European Commission voluntary programme (launched in February 2003) through which industrial companies are aided in improving the energy efficiency of their motor driven systems. Any enterprise or organisation planning to contribute to the Motor challenge programme objectives can participate.