At the time of writing this, the price of a barrel of oil had dropped to $45.71, something financial experts had absolutely no reason to anticipate. However, even as oil prices continue to bottom out, the overall trend is to move towards energy efficiency, including alternative means of energy. Many countries have done much to ensure that their energy costs remain unaffected by the overall cost of oil. In fact, by many measures, an economy’s level of energy efficiency is a strong indicator of its willingness to modernize. For this reason, we have compiled a list of the most energy-efficient countries as gleaned from information provided by Business Insider and from a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy.
When speaking of Germany, it is not uncommon to hear the phrase “German efficiency.” Therefore, it is not surprising to find Germany on top of this list. According to a recent study put out by the American Council For An Energy Efficient Economy, Germany was the best country overall for energy efficiency, scoring high in multiple categories for a total score of 65 points out of 100 on their study.
While Ireland’s economy is based mostly on the service and IT sectors, the Land Of The Leprechaun did come in as sufficiently green. Ireland has reduced its carbon emission by 15% per year for the last several years.
Denmark has a population about half the size of New York City, but, even still, its energy usage is remarkably low. Each Dane consumes about half as much energy as each American, and that does not have to do with the difference between alternating current and direct current.
4. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom recently vowed to cut carbon emissions by a whopping 80% before the year 2050. And, in addition, the country’s main business, its financial sector, uses very little energy anyway.
Norway derives almost all of its energy from sustainably green hydroelectric damns and would be much higher on this list if not for its incredibly high per capita consumption of energy, which my be caused by its cold climate.
Forward-thinking France does much to encourage energy efficiency within its borders. Besides offering major tax credits for energy efficient businesses, the industrial and transport sectors of the French economy have increased their efficiency by 19% and 12% respectively.
Austria does a lot to ensure that it is relatively energy-efficient. About 23% of its energy reserves come from renewable sources, an astonishingly high figure.
Italy made it on this list by scoring very high on the energy efficient aspects of its transportation industry. However, Italy’s industrial sector has lost major ground in energy efficiency, suffering a drop of nearly 25% recently, which accounts for their relatively low ranking.
Although it is by no means a leader in green initiatives, Mexico’s young economy has shown much promise in increasing its energy efficiency. Many large initiatives are being undertaken to make Mexico among the most energy-efficient countries. As Mexico continues to grow, it is likely they will move up these rankings.
The Land Down Under makes it onto this list, but just barely. Although Australia has made considerable strides in ensuring energy efficiency in its building construction, its transportation is a major cause of pollution. Couple that with a recent repeal of a carbon tax. and Australia is actually sliding downward.
Those of us hoping that the United States would top the list are disappointed to learn that the US has slipped to 13th in the same rankings that put Germany at the top. The implementation of the Clean Air Act could do a ton to move the United States up this list. Overall, the low ranking of the US is due to its tendency to waste energy.
Featured photo credit: Jim Fleming via flickr.com