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U.S., U.K. May Cut Energy Use 20% Refitting Buildings

Governments in the U.S., the U.K. and Spain could reduce their energy consumption by as much as 20 percent by encouraging investors to refit buildings to make them more efficient, said Peter Sweatman, chief executive officer of the Madrid-based consulting firm Climate Strategy SL.

Officials could use investment opportunities worth as much as $300 billion a year globally by creating a framework for investing in “energy efficiency assets,” Sweatman said in a report to be published tomorrow co-authored by Katrina Managan of the Instituto de Empresa business school.

“The level of ambition required to reach a lot of the stated national targets of energy efficiency is high, and a greater level of policy engagement is going to be required to meet them,” Sweatman said in a telephone interview today.

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings, transport and factories is the quickest and cheapest way to reduce greenhouse- gas emissions and may be worth $1.2 trillion a year in sales by 2020, according to a related report by HSBC Holdings Plc. The European Union is aiming to improve energy efficiency by 20 percent over the next decade.

Sweatman recommended that governments offer guarantees to financing vehicles which can aggregate energy-efficiency projects with standardized documentation that can sell securities backed by those assets to institutional investors. The move would allow officials to deliver aid to a wider number of projects without having to approve individual refits.

“We need more agile way in which governments can provide support,” Sweatman said

The report was reviewed by executives from Climate Change Capital, Banco Santander SA and NextEra Energy Inc. as well as academics at the University of California, Berkeley, and Duke University.

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