The global energy efficiency market is worth at least $310 billion (£192bn) a year and is continuing to grow, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Its new report shows investments in energy efficiency are helping improve energy productivity – the amount of energy needed to produce a unit of GDP.
Total energy usage was down 5% between 2001 and 2011 among 18 IEA countries evaluated in the report, primarily as a result of increased investment in efficiency. During that period, energy consumption fell by 1,732 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) – larger than the combined 2012 energy demand of the US and Germany.
That’s a result of more homes and businesses installing energy-saving technologies such as LED lighting and insulation in an effort to cut bills.
According to the report, there is “huge” potential for energy efficiency in emerging markets, particularly in efficient vehicles and transport infrastructure.
It estimates efficiency improvements in transport to reduce fuel costs by as much as $189 billion (£117.5bn) a year by 2020 while reducing air pollution.
IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said: “Energy efficiency is the invisible powerhouse in IEA countries and beyond, working behind the scenes to improve our energy security, lower our energy bills and move us closer to reaching our climate goals.”
“[It] is moving from a niche interest to an established market segment with increasing interest from institutional lenders and investors”, she added.