7.5.5 Leading by Example
The government is the largest single consumer of energy in most countries. Governments
can reduce their own energy costs through the operation of their buildings,
through the design features of new buildings, and through the efficiency of
the energy-using products they buy. Through environmentally sound decisions,
governments can also provide an example to those who own, rent, and operate
privately-owned residential, commercial and institutional buildings. Government
policies are also important in myriad additional ways. For example, governments
can use their purchasing power to create a market for energy-efficient products.
Government leaders can stimulate the demand for "Green" products through
public recognition for voluntary industry efforts to market ESTs.
Few governments are taking advantage of the opportunity to show leadership
in their management of their own energy consumption, according to a recent survey
of 25 countries in Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia (Borg et al.,
1997). The survey questionnaire was distributed to knowledgeable government
people in 25 countries. The most active programmes were reported in Canada,
the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States. The common government programmes
included setting energy-saving targets, tracking progress toward the targets,
recognising successes, requiring the purchasing of efficient equipment, providing
information and training, as well as financing schemes, and conducting energy
audits and demonstration projects. Additional countries have adopted Climate
Change programmes in their building sectors, including Australia, the United
Kingdom, Japan, New Zealand, France and Germany (OECD, 1999)
Leading by example has an appealing potential for transferring one country's
success to another in the climate change field, where countries are striving
for a common, international goal. The buildings sector offers highly visible
opportunities to demonstrate this leadership, for example, by integrating climate
friendly policies into government operations, housing and education programmes.
Annex I countries have a special responsibility to lead by example in order
to stimulate adoption by developing countries and CEITs.
A potentially powerful form of international cooperation is present among the
countries of a region that share common resources, climates, languages, traditions
and aspirations. For example, renewable energy resources such as solar radiation,
hydropower, wind, biomass, and geothermal resources are distributed regionally
without regard to political boundaries. The demand for heating and cooling and
the available construction materials are common to multi-country regions. Within
these regions, the technology opportunities are similar. The successful deployment
of a new technology can spread rapidly. The enhanced regional demand for climate
friendly technologies can attract development and investments that otherwise
would be slow to respond to efforts of a single country.