This report provides quantitative evidence on the Energy Efficiency First (EE1st) principle by investigating the level of end-use energy efficiency in the building sector that would provide the greatest benefit for the European Union in transitioning to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050. Three scenarios are modelled and compared in terms of energy system cost to determine the extent to which society is better off – in pure monetary terms – if end-use energy efficiency in buildings was systematically prioritized over energy supply.
The report emphasizes that at least moderate levels of energy efficiency in buildings are needed to cost-efficiently achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Even such relatively moderate levels will have to go much beyond business-as-usual trends. In addition, the study presents ample reason to support higher levels of ambition. Most notably, end-use energy efficiency in buildings reduces the capacities and associated cost of generators, networks, storage and other energy supply technologies.