In its World Energy Outlook 2012 (WEO), launched in Brussels on 20th November, the International Energy Agency (IEA) underlines the unexploited potential of energy efficiency in terms of economic gains, energy security improvements and environmental protection.

The multiple benefits of energy efficiency could be achieved if the currently available technologies and practices to improve energy efficiency were systematically adopted, leading to “energy savings, by 2035, equivalent to nearly a fifth of global demand in 2010”, according to IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. “Energy efficiency is just as important as unconstrained energy supply” she explained. Referring to the buildings sector, the WEO deplores the fact that 80% of the economic potential of energy efficiency in buildings remains untapped, largely due to non-technical barriers.

As the EU’s increased dependence on imported energy is predicted to reach record levels of over 80% by 2035, the urgency to reduce the energy demand of the EU building stock is imminent. Indeed, as the sector responsible for 40% of all energy consumed in Europe, the buildings sector is highlighted by the WEO as the sector with the highest energy efficiency potential.

“Renovating Europe’s building stock has a significant mitigating potential and undeniable economic benefits” said Adrian Joyce, Director of the Renovate Europe Campaign. “The facts are there, and the technology is available! Let’s work together to seize this opportunity for every Member State to reap the benefits of greater energy security, increased economic activity and lower energy bills for their citizens.”

The figures released by the WEO lend further support to the Renovate Europe Campaign’s objectives of reducing the energy demand of the energy demand in buildings by 80% by 2050. The findings of the Multiple Benefits Study launched at Renovate Europe Day 2012 echo the WEO’s analysis of the need to act on the renovation of our building stock in order to harvest the economic, environmental and societal benefits that such action will bring.