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June 2013
EU Energy Efficiency Target for 2020 Out of Reach

The latest estimates of the EU Commission show a wide gap between the 20-20-20 targets and projected reality by 2020. Responsible for this gap is a still by far too high energy consumption in EU, as well as a lack of awareness for the existing energy efficiency potentials.

The last World Energy Outlook from the International Energy Agency concludes that two-thirds of the economic potential to improve energy efficiency will remain untapped between now and 2035.

Thermal insulation is one of these overlooked cost-effective energy efficiency measures that can significantly contribute to the reduction of the EU’s energy consumption. In the Ecofys report “Climate Protection with Rapid Payback” the energy experts identify a considerable energy and CO2 savings potential related to improved thermal insulation in industry. This study shows that proper insulation can help European industry reduce its annual fuel consumption by 620 petajoules (roughly equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 10 million households) and annual emissions by 49 million tons of CO2 (the equivalent to 18 million cars).

“With just better maintenance and consistent insulation of industrial applications, about two thirds of the energy and emission savings potential could be tapped,” says Kornelis Blok, Director of Science at Ecofys. “And since insulation investments will usually be paid back in less than one year, this is also a great business opportunity.”

And there are more good news: As the graph shows, the EU is on the right track when it comes to cutting CO2 levels and increasing renewable energy sources.


The European Union has set up the so-called 20-20-20 targets with the aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20%, reduce energy consumption by 20% and increase the use of renewable energy by 20%. In order to ensure the achievement of these challenging targets, a new Directive on Energy Efficiency was adopted in October last year. This Directive establishes a framework of legally binding measures to promote energy efficiency within all EU member states. The transposition deadline for all nations is in one year: 5 June 2014.

Download the full EiiF/Ecofys report here >

Two-thirds of the economic potential to improve energy efficiency remains untapped in the period to 2035 (IEA WEO 2012):

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