Energy savings - campaign

Europe actually has a 20 per cent energy savings target for 2020, but it's purely voluntary. Many countries have ignored it. To turn this round and deliver the benefits of energy savings, Friends of the Earth Europe is campaigning to make the 2020 target legally binding.

According to the European Commission we could all be saving €1000 per household every year if Europe's energy use was brought down by 20 per cent. Energy imports would also be cut back, and CO2 emissions would come down. All experts agree this is possible. The question is, why isn't more being done? And what needs to be done?

Friends of the Earth Europe is campaigning to convince the European Council, Parliament and Commission to make the 20 per cent energy savings target legally binding. This, experience shows, is the best way to get workable national policies up and running. Our campaign objectives are to:

  • Set a binding EU-wide savings target with sub-targets for each Member State.
  • Put obligations on energy producers and distributors to invest in energy savings.

This might sound like a contradiction in terms – why would an energy company wish to save energy? But in practice companies can expect higher revenues from selling energy saving services (more efficient machinery for businesses, loft insulation) than from traditional power sales. And customers gain because energy producers and distributors finance the up-front costs.

  • Set tougher building standards. To ensure better living standards and lower bills, there must be stricter energy consumption standards for newly built or renovated buildings.
  • Study the savings potential before building new energy infrastructure (power plants, transmission lines). Energy regulators - the referees of Europe's energy systems - seldom have the mandate to encourage energy savings. The result is often 'over construction' that is environmentally damaging and a financial burden for consumers.