High medical and energy costs, limited incomes, and narrow comfort ranges present multiple health-related challenges for older adults. A variety of studies indicate that weatherizing and repairing the homes of elderly households can help to address some of these issues, ultimately improving resident health and reducing energy and health costs.

Appliance, equipment, and lighting standards have been among the most effective energy efficiency policies, delivering increased savings over multiple rounds of standards for many products. But how much more can be accomplished?

The 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard examines the energy efficiency policies and performance of 23 of the world’s top energy-consuming countries. Together these nations represent 75% of all the energy consumed on the planet and in 2013 accounted for over 80% of the world’s gross domestic product.

Germany comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world’s major economies, followed by Italy, the European Union as a whole, China, and France, according to the 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard published today by the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). New to the rankings this year are four nations: India, Mexico, South Korea, and Spain. Now in its second edition, the ACEEE report finds that, while some countries are still significantly outperforming others, there are substantial opportunities for improved energy efficiency in all economies analyzed, including the U.S., which ranked 13th out of 16 nations – behind countries such as China, Canada, and India. The new carbon pollution standards for existing power plants proposed this June by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be a major stride in the direction of greater energy efficiency in the U.S. There are dozens of other international best practices that the U.S. could implement to improve its score.

A country that uses less energy to achieve the same or better results reduces its costs and pollution, creating a stronger, more competitive economy. While energy efficiency has played a role in the economies of developed nations for decades, cost-effective energy efficiency remains a massively underutilized energy resource.

Information and communications technology (ICT) can permit large energy savings in the freight transportation sector while improving speed, reliability, and security.