The Economic Affairs Ministry and the Environment Ministry today jointly signed an agreement with business associations and organisations on the nation-wide introduction of energy efficiency networks. The agreement aims to establish approx. 500 new networks by 2020, thereby making an important contribution towards mitigating climate change and boosting energy efficiency in industry, crafts, trade and commerce.

"A culture of energy efficiency cannot be prescribed by the legislature", said Minister Gabriel. "That is why we are relying on the voluntary instrument of energy efficiency networks. The experience we have gained so far shows that the networks can develop a lot of highly profitable potential for efficiency in businesses."

"Today's signing of the agreement to initiate 500 energy efficiency networks marks a great stride towards more climate mitigation in the German business community," said Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. "This agreement means that we are immediately rolling out an important measure on the day of the Cabinet's decision to adopt the 2020 Climate Action Programme and the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan."

An energy efficiency network consists of 8 to 15 companies. Each company uses the services of an experienced energy consultant to set a conservation target, and backs this up with action. In an exchange of experience in the network, moderated and supported by the energy consultant, the companies then set themselves a joint efficiency target for the work of their network. Results from a network project have shown that the participating companies make significantly better improvements in their energy efficiency after three to four years than the average for their sector, that they cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by an average of 1000 tonnes of CO2, and that they boost their energy productivity twice as quickly as the average for the sector.

The business associations and organisations signing up to the initiative have agreed to foster the spread of energy efficiency networks amongst companies throughout the entire term of the agreement, not least by serving as initiators of networks. The government will provide vigorous backing in order to make a success of the initiative, e.g. in the form of information and instruments for practical implementation. Implementation of the agreement will be subjected to annual monitoring.