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Increased International Cooperation on Standards for Energy Efficiency Needed, Including Transport

A recent workshop jointly organized by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) confirmed that key players in the energy sector consider International Standards essential instruments to support the implementation of energy efficiency practices.

Presentations and discussion panels provided insights on the requirements and challenges related to energy efficiency and related standardization work in a variety of fields: industrial systems, power generation, buildings, electrical and electronic appliances, networks and data centres, transport and energy management.

The transport sector accounts for more than a quarter of total global final energy consumption and CO2 emissions. This share, which has been steadily growing over the past two decades, is expected to further increase in the future, primarily due to the development of road traffic in emerging economies. In addition, current transportation modes are largely dependent on oil and therefore directly responsible for their own GHG emissions.

Energy efficiency improvement of transport is imperative, the participants noted, in particular for road vehicles, which account for nearly 90 % of the total sector energy use. They also concluded that improvement of the calculation of GHG emissions of vehicles and transportation services is urgently needed, particularly in relation to the proliferation of incompatible carbon calculator models which produce inconsistent results.

Challenges that need to be tackled to achieve the energy efficiency goals that policy makers are introducing in most countries include:

  • Significant improvements are needed in standards for vehicle fuel consumption tests to take into account more realistic driving conditions and different regional usage patterns (for example, driving in congested urban areas is the most common road vehicle trip in developing countries).

  • Fuel consumption test procedures need to be extended/adapted to cover hybrid vehicles.

  • The development of standards covering the other major components of vehicles (and their operating conditions) which have significant impact on fuel consumption, must progress expeditiously. Particular importance should be given to standards covering metrics and testing of tire rolling-resistance, as well as air conditioning and other in-vehicle sub-systems.

  • Consumer interests need to be more substantially and systematically engaged, with a view to the development of clear, consistent and reliable information for consumers, supporting both purchasing choices (e.g. through labelling systems) and eco-friendly operation of vehicles.

  • A significant effort is required to develop a consistent international framework of transparent metrics and calculation methods for GHG emissions of vehicles and transport services (covering the entire chain of functions and processes) for use as a reliable reference model by carbon trading schemes.

The IEA and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predict that the world energy demand will increase by 45 % between now and 2030 without remedial action.

Energy efficiency is here, but not easily seen. However, once metrics are developed, it becomes possible to give visibility to energy efficiency. Making energy efficiency visible is the first task to giving it commercial value, but this is only partly complete. Technical standards allow efficiency to be defined, measured and evaluated. They are the foundation of all policy and private sector actions to reduce energy intensity.

—Pieter Boot, Director of the IEA’s Directorate of Sustainable Energy Policy and Technology


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