Energy efficiency improvement actions can lead to considerable savings of resources from nature. Approximately 75 % of the primary energy consumption in Europe stems from fossil energy carriers like coal, gas or oil. Any reduction in the energy consumption would therefore also reduce the amount of energetic raw materials within Europe and throughout the rest of the world. Moreover, the reduction encompasses the whole value chain of energy production und supply: raw materials for mining, extraction and processing as well as production and maintenance of energy technologies. On the other hand, there is the risk that additional technologies or components needed for (technical) energy efficiency improvement actions (over)compensate the savings related with the decrease in energy demand.
We measure the resource savings from energy efficiency improvements in four sub categories for abiotic and biotic raw materials, taking into account their energetic or non-energetic functionality. By applying Life Cycle Assessment and Material Flow Accouting methods, raw material savings by energy efficiency improvement actions and corresponding technologies are quantified cradle-to-gate with help of mass-based indicators. Overall, national and sector-wide resource benefits are calculated with help of a bottom-up approach. Additional direct cost savings from material reductions and substitutions are monetized.