Energy conservation and efficiency measures are economically viable

Energy conservation and energy efficiency are two key areas in Finland's efforts to meet Finland's climate and energy policy objectives. Energy conservation and efficiency activities are often the most economically viable solutions to reduce emissions: 50% of the global target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions could be attained by more efficient use of energy.

Energy conservation and efficiency measures bring economic benefits

With more efficient and economical energy use, increasingly larger share of the overall energy requirement can be met by emission-free and renewable sources. The International Energy Agency IEA has estimated that more efficient use of energy could contribute 50% of the global target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions [1]. Energy saving efforts can be stepped up in almost every sphere of society from industry to households.

Energy saving projects can be up to ten times more cost-effective than increasing energy production. Energy efficiency measures also offer fast return on investment, while promoting employment, improving energy security and cutting down energy expenditure. Investment on energy efficiency boosts technological development, which in turn has a positive impact on employment. The future cost of reducing emissions is also cut down.

Improving energy efficiency and energy conservation in the EU

One of the objectives of the EU's climate and energy package [2] is to improve energy efficiency by 20% compared with projected level by 2020. The measures include improvements in the energy efficiency of products, buildings and services, streamlining energy energy production and distribution, reducing energy consumption in transport, boosting funding and investment for the sector, changing consumer attitudes, and endorsing international activities. In addition, the EU has set minimum targets for energy output and regulations for energy labelling of products, services and infrastructure.

Directive 2006/32/EC [3] on energy end-use efficiency and energy services (the Energy Service Directive) commits the member states to improving their energy use by 9% in the years 2008–2016 compared to the average end-use of energy in 2001–2005. For Finland, this target signifies an annual energy saving of 17.8 terawatt hours (TWh).

Finland's key strategies

Energy conservation and energy efficiency are the two key areas in the efforts to meet Finland's climate and energy policy objectives. In 2007, following the EU's Energy Services Directive, Finland drew up the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan [4] for 2008–2010. The action plan outlines the energy efficiency measures and programmes for different sectors (transport, agriculture, services, construction and engineering, and non-emission trading industries).

The strategic objective set by the Government for Finland in the long-term climate and energy strategy [5] entails halting and reversing the growth of energy end use. This means that energy end-use efficiency must be enhanced by approximately 37 TWh by 2020 as compared to the projected position if no new measures for improved efficiency are taken. Of this total, the share of saved electricity will amount to 5 TWh. By 2050, energy end-consumption must be reduced by about one third from the level of 2020.

The strategy outlines the key steering methods and measures by area of activity. Achieving these goals calls for increased efficiency in energy consumption, particularly as concerns housing, construction and transport. Voluntary energy saving agreements and technological advances are anticipated to provide energy savings of approximately 5% compared to the projected growth by 2012.

Measures to promote energy conservation and energy efficiency

In 2009, the Energy Efficiency Committee of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy outlined the proposal for energy saving and energy efficiency measures [6] in different sectors of society.

Together with the objectives set for energy end-use efficiency, as defined in the long-term climate and energy strategy, the committee's proposals constitute the overall plan for energy conservation and energy efficiency. Based on these proposals, the Government passed in February 2010 a decision on energy efficiency measures [7] for 2010–2010.

According to the Energy Efficiency Committee, Finland has scope to save significant amounts of energy by 2010. The potential savings attained by the various measures include: 8.5 TWh from the introduction of new private vehicle technology, 4.9 TWh from stricter energy regulations for new building projects and renovation construction, 2.8 TWh from broader energy efficiency agreements, and 2.1 TWh from energy efficiency requirements for equipment. Mobility and community structure, heating, electrical appliances and lighting, manufacturing processes, and climate-friendly public procurement are discussed in further detail in the portal's other articles.

Long-term improvements in energy efficiency

Radical improvement of energy efficiency is also one of the measures included in the foresight report[8] of Prime Minister Vanhanen's Second Cabinet, striving to cut down the economy's energy intensity by 50% by 2050. For example, the foresight report proposes improving energy efficiency in building stock by 60% by 2050 and cutting down emissions from the private car stock to 20–30g/100km.


  1. International Energy Agency. 2009. World Energy Outlook 2009 691 p.
  2. European Commission. 2010. The EU climate and energy package
  3. 2006/32/EY. Euroopan parlamentin ja neuvoston direktiivi 5.4.2006 energian loppukäytön tehokkuudesta ja energiapalveluista sekä neuvoston direktiivin 93/76/ETY kumoamisesta. EUVL Nro L 114/64. 27.4.2006.
  4. Kauppa- ja teollisuusministeriö ym. 2007. Suomen kansallinen energiatehokkuuden toimintasuunnitelma (NEEAP 2008–2010). 74 s. ja liitteet
  5. Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö. 2008. Pitkän aikavälin ilmasto- ja energiastrategia. Valtioneuvoston selonteko eduskunnalle 6. päivänä marraskuuta 2008. Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriön julkaisuja. Energia ja ilmasto 36/2008. 159 s.
  6. TEM 2009. Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö. 2009. Energiatehokkuustoimikunnan mietintö: Ehdotus energiansäästön ja energiatehokkuuden toimenpiteiksi. 97 s.
  7. Valtioneuvosto. 2010. Valtioneuvoston periaatepäätös energiatehokkuustoimenpiteistä (4.2.2010)
  8. Valtioneuvosto. 2009. Valtioneuvoston tulevaisuusselonteko ilmasto- ja energiapolitiikasta: kohti vähäpäästöistä Suomea. Valtioneuvoston kanslian julkaisusarja 28/2009. 180 s.