A new report issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) ranks the United States 9th out of 12 in energy efficiency. The ACEEE’s International Energy Efficiency Scorecard looked at 12 nations representing 78% of global GDP, 63% of global energy consumption, and 62% of global emissions. The scoring was based on 27 metrics relative to buildings, industry, transportation and efforts at the national level. The 11 other countries included in the study were the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, France, Australia, EU, China, Brazil, Japan, Canada and Russia.

The United Kingdom scored highest in the study followed by Germany, Italy, Japan and France. While the United States rated well on building-related metrics, it scored lowest on transportation measures. The report specifically notes “limited or little progress toward greater efficiency at the national level”. The findings indicate that the U.S. wastes money that other countries reinvest in energy savings. Upon completion of its ratings for the U.S., the ACEEE makes the following recommendations to improve energy efficiency:

• Setting national energy-saving targets;
• Adopting stricter building codes;
• Increasing funding for public transportation;
• Adopting higher federal fuel-economy standards.

An interesting note was made that overall Americans feel less guilt about their environmental footprint than the citizens of smaller countries. Reference was made to a National Geographic study that concluded that people from countries with larger environmental footprints tend to feel less guilty about their impact. This may explain why the U.S., along with China, Brazil and Russia, scored lowest in this study.

Environmental studies and statistical data are important because they clearly show each country where it stands on issues of green initiatives compared with the rest of the world. Each country then can applaud its successes and also take note of deficits. The U.S. can take credit for positive changes in the area of building-related matters and also strive to make improvements in the public transportation sector on a national level. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work to make this country more environmentally friendly. Let’s live green, be green.