Building renovation to unlock global energy efficiency

News Item
02 Dec 2013

Energy efficiency has been described by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as the World’s ‘First Fuel’, and buildings highlighted as the sector with the largest untapped economic energy efficiency potential. These are some of the key findings from the IEA’s Energy Efficiency Market Report and World Energy Outlook 2013.


Energy efficiency is seen as part of the solution to the global energy problem, as its real estimated contribution towards energy security and public finances is increasingly quantified. According to IEA calculations, 11 of the IEA Member States made energy savings equal to $420 billion (€310bn) between 2005 and 2010, a quantity higher than any other single fuel source. In relation to increasing energy prices, the IEA estimates that the rising energy demand could be decreased from 45% to 33%, if new energy efficiency policies were to be implemented.

Unlocking the huge energy efficiency potential in the building stock is recognised again in this year’s World Energy Outlook as the key lift-off point to achieving these energy savings. Highly energy efficient glazing has a crucial role to play in unlocking this potential.

The potential for low emissivity glass (double and triple glazing) to cut CO2 emissions from new and existing buildings has been analysed by the Dutch scientific institute TNO in a study undertaken for Glass For Europe. Up to 90 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be saved annually by 2020 if all Europe’s buildings (existing and new residential and non-residential buildings) were fitted with double-glazed low emissivity insulating glass units. An additional 7 million tonnes of CO2 emissions could be cut thanks to the greater use of triple-glazed low emissivity insulating glass units for new buildings, where appropriate.

The International Energy Agency presented its Energy Efficiency Market Report in October, followed by its World Energy Outlook 2013 on 29th November 2013 in Brussels.

The IEA's World Outlook 2013 can be downloaded from here and the IEA’s Energy Efficiency Market Report from here.

The Glass for Europe-commissioned study on the potential for low emissivity glass to cut CO2 emissions in the EU building stock can be accessed here.