Covid-19 slows investment in energy efficiency measures
10/12/2020 by Ilea Buffier

There have been many stories in the press recently about the short-term beneficial impact of reduced travel in 2020, due to responses to covid-19, on air pollution and carbon emissions.

Unfortunately, the International Energy Agency’s Energy Efficiency 2020 Report shows that the economic impact of covid-19 has also redirected investment away from energy efficiency. An extract from the Report’s executive summary is given below.

“As a result of the [covid-19] crisis and continuing low energy prices, energy intensity is expected to improve by only 0.8% in 2020, roughly half the rates, corrected for weather, for 2019 (1.6%) and 2018 (1.5%). This is well below the level needed to achieve global climate and sustainability goals. It is especially worrying because energy efficiency delivers more than 40% of the reduction in energy-related greenhouse gas emissions over the next 20 years in the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario, which shows how to put the world on track to achieve international climate and energy goals in full.

Investments in new energy-efficient buildings, equipment and vehicles are expected to decline in 2020, as economic growth falls by an estimated 4.6% and income uncertainty affects consumer and business decision making. Sales of new cars are expected to fall by more than 10% from 2019, keeping the overall vehicle stock older and less efficient, although the share of electric vehicles in new car sales is anticipated to grow to 3.2%, up from 2.5% in 2019. In industry and commercial buildings, lower energy prices have extended payback periods for key energy efficiency measures by 10% to 40%, which reduces their attractiveness compared with other investments.”

This is worrying because the world is not presently on track to become carbon neutral by 2050. Taking longer than that to become carbon neutral will increase the costs imposed by climate change substantially. From an economic perspective, the world’s population as a whole would be better off reducing carbon emissions earlier rather than later.

What can your business do about this?

Step one is to find out what your greenhouse gas emissions are, and which energy efficiency measures your business could take to save on energy bills and reduce your emissions. Evalue8 Sustainability’s software can help with this. We can help you track your emissions over time and by source, and suggest economically viable investments that will enable you to reduce your energy spend and your greenhouse gas emissions. Hop on over to to learn more.