Energy Efficiency

The cleanest and cheapest energy is energy that we don’t use in the first place. Alongside renewables, enhancing energy conservation and efficiency is key to a successful energy transition. Both Germany and China have made the principle “Efficiency First!” a leitmotif for the implementation of their energy transitions. The example of Germany shows that decoupling economic growth and energy consumption is possible. Between 1990 and 2015, Germany’s primary energy demand fell by 11% while her GDP grew by 43%. Similarly, China has greatly advanced its endeavor to decrease energy intensity. Between 1990 and 2015, China’s energy intensity decreased from 21 to 6.7 MJ/USDGDP, 2011, PPP.

Embedded in the European Union’s framework and energy efficiency targets, Germany has enacted different policy instruments for increasing energy efficiency. With its Energy Efficiency Strategy 2050 and the updated National Action Plan Energy Efficiency (NAPE), published in December 2019, the country determines to apply a mix of instruments and measures to help Germany to achieve a 30% reduction of primary energy consumption (PEC) by 2030 (in comparison to 2008) and support the roadmap towards a 50% PEC cut by 2050.  China has set ambitious targets over the years on energy efficiency, covering every aspect of the economy, from housing to industry. According to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2015-2020), China aims to reduce energy intensity by 15% by 2020 compared to 2015. The 13th Five-Year Plan set an upper limit for 2020 primary energy consumption of 5 billion tons of standard coal.

Germany and China cooperate and exchange on pressing challenges, solutions and best practices for increasing energy efficiency in industry and buildings. Apart from facilitating a political and technical dialogue on energy efficiency policies and solutions, the Sino-German demonstration projects on energy efficiency in industry and cities showcase the intensive bilateral cooperation on improving energy conservation in China’s industry, industry parks and city quarters. Additionally, German and Chinese experts and practitioners join forces to evaluate and determine guidelines for setting up energy efficiency networks in the Chinese context.

Facts & Figures

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Energy intensity reduction by 2020 compared to 2015 in China (13 FYP)
billion tons of standard coal
Upper limit for 2020 primary energy consumption
billion tons of standard coal
Total primary energy consumption in 2019, making China the largest energy consumer globally

News & Articles

Revealing the Iceberg under Sea Surface: Life Cycle Cost Matters!

We associate the “iceberg principle” in general with psychological analysis of individuals, the principle, however, can also be applied to the energy sector for economic analysis. Energy-saving technology investment is like an iceberg. Decision-makers tend to pay more attention to initial capital expenditures (CAPEX), represented

Fourteen Technologies, One Goal – Energy Efficiency in China’s Industry

What better place to choose for an exchange on cutting-edge high energy efficient technologies than the Passive House Technology Center with its energy efficient air conditioning system and integrated on-site energy generation? More than 200 representatives from government authorities, Chinese energy-intensive industries, German technology providers


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External Resources that might also interest you

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction works towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector. Their Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction tracks global progress on key indicators for energy use, emissions, technologies, policies, and investments globally. Check out their resources at: