Main Issue

Improving energy efficiency is the single best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to mitigating the impact of climate change, it also reduces local, regional and global air pollution. Apart from environmental benefits, energy efficiency also enhances economic competitiveness, creates jobs and saves consumers money.

Energy efficiency benefits a wide range of sectors:

  • Residential: A one-time investment in energy efficiency pays itself back quickly in lower bills for heating, air conditioning, hot water and lighting. 
  • Buildings: Buildings alone account for approximately 32 percent of global energy use, and for nearly 30 percent of total GHG emissions, including energy end-use emissions, electricity generation emissions and district heat. Retrofitted buildings can reduce heating and cooling energy requirements by 50-90 percent. New, energy-efficient buildings often use close to zero energy for heating and cooling
  • Transport: Electrically-powered transport reduces final energy use by more than a factor of three, as compared to gasoline powered vehicles.
  • Industry: Manufacturing and industry, both large and small, accounts for a large portion of GHG emissions. Improving efficiency through better practices, better technology and new materials, helps lower emissions, save energy, reduce waste and save money. Many developing countries are counting on the SME sector for the majority of job growth. With greater efficiency, we can help that sector grow sustainably.

To make these kinds of changes, countries need the right policies and regulations in place. These will target overall energy policy; demand-side and supply-side measures; energy tariff regulations; power sector reform; energy efficiency policies, laws, targets and plans; establishment of energy efficiency agencies; and promotion of energy efficiency audits. 

What We Do

The GEF has long recognized the importance of energy for economic development, as well as the negative effects of inefficient energy use. For that reason, we support the transfer of energy-efficient technologies, but also help reform policies and regulations to foster energy efficiency.

As an operating entity of the financial mechanism for the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the GEF has supported climate change mitigation in developing countries since its inception. We maintain a strong focus on transferring environmentally sound technologies in keeping with UNFCCC’s technology transfer framework. Read more+


The GEF has invested more than US$1.2 billion on energy efficiency in 115 developing and transition countries. This has leveraged an additional $11.4 billion from our partners. By 2020, emissions of more than 400 million tCO2e will be reduced from this investment, the equivalent of taking 88 million cars off the road for an entire year. 

With the GEF’s support, developing and transition countries have introduced policies and regulatory frameworks, as well as standards and labels for appliances, lighting, buildings and industrial equipment. These countries have also established market-based approaches and pioneered innovative financial instruments. The GEF has also fostered technology transfer in many projects through the demonstration of energy-efficient technologies that could deliver both immediate and long-term benefits. Read more+

115 countries

Received US$1.2 billion for energy efficiency projects

400 million

tCO2e avoided by 2020

$11.4 billion

Leveraged from GEF investments