Energy efficiency's impact hits hard on economy

THE poor take-up of energy efficiency is hitting Australia's economy, potentially foregoing $26 billion in extra revenue by 2030, research from the Climate Institute has found.

Analysis by Vivid Economics for the institute has found just a 1% improvement in energy efficiency can boost GDP by 0.1 percentage points for every Australian.

Institute chief executive John Connor said a 1% improvement each year could create an extra $8 billion in GDP by 2020 and up to $26 billion by 2030.

"This is an important contribution to improving Australia's productivity, as well as cutting our energy bills and carbon pollution," he said.

The research assessed the impact of energy efficiency on economic output, finding simple ways to reduce energy use could have major savings across the country.

Companies in manufacturing, resources, construction, freight and air transport could save as much as $3 billion a year, with an 11% reduction in energy use.

Mr Connor said the research put a figure on "how much we are missing out on", and that current policies were inadequate to address barriers to smarter energy use.

The Institute advocated a national energy saving initiative, new emissions standards for vehicles and more stringent standards for products, to help reduce energy use.