Source: IEC Blog (

According to the International Energy Agency (IAE), energy efficiency is the ‘first fuel of a sustainable, global energy system’. Yet it is often overlooked. How can this resource be better harvested?
To help technical committees consider issues related to energy efficiency when developing standards for electrical and electronic devices and systems, the IEC set up the Advisory Committee on Energy Efficiency (ACEE) in 2013.

Defining energy efficiency

The IEC defines energy efficiency as the ratio between output performance compared with the input of energy. It consists of the following: using less energy for the same performance, using the same energy for better performance, or improving the conversion of energy into electricity.

Economic growth implies an increased demand in energy. However, this demand in energy can have negative consequences for the environment. For this reason, energy efficiency is a cost-effective means for supporting the growing demand for energy while simultaneously limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Barriers to energy efficiency

Many energy efficient technologies and solutions are readily available. Investments and a commitment towards energy efficiency abound, yet a number of barriers inhibits the deployment of energy efficiency solutions and impedes harvesting the full potential of energy efficiency.
The barriers to the wide adoption of energy efficiency include a lack of awareness about the saving potential, focus on the performance of devices rather than the system, and the absence of incentives for the user. The lack of adequate information about performance efficiency as well as the lack of widely used metrics to measure performance efficiency is another barrier.

However, standardization can offer solutions to help overcome these barriers.

Standards can help
Standardization can play an important role for energy efficiency. For example, standards provide definitions and measurements of performance, help to disseminate and promote energy efficiency technologies and set minimum energy performance requirements.

Yet the challenge for standardization is to provide a systems integration approach. While improving the energy efficiency of individual devices can lead to better energy outcomes, a systems integration approach allows much greater benefit.
ACEE has developed Guide 118 and Guide 119 which enable technical committees to harmonize the energy efficiency standardization and adopt a systems approach.


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