The United States lags behind eight other major global economies in terms of energy efficiency, according to the first ranking on the International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, which is produced by the Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. The rankings seeded the energy efficiency of 12 of the world’s largest economies.

The top three spots went to the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy, respectively. Japan and France came in fourth and fifth place. In front of the U.S. were the European Union, Australia, and China, which all tied for sixth place. Brazil, Canada, and Russia filled in the 10th, 11th, and 12th spots, in that order.

The rankings were based on the results from analyzing 27 metrics. These metrics tracked cross-cutting energy aspects on four levels: on the whole (national level), in buildings, in industry, and within transportation.

Energy efficiency helps to sustain prosperous economies by reducing costs, preserving valuable resources, and creating jobs, ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said in a press release. “The U.K. and the leading economies of Europe are now well ahead of the United States when it comes to energy efficiency. ... Unfortunately, our results show that nowhere is the vast potential for improvements in energy efficiency being completely realized.”

The ACEEE recommends several suggestions for improving the U.S.’s energy efficiency, including creating a national energy savings target, providing financial incentives for individuals and companies, and using stringent building code standards. The full ACEEE 2012 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard report is available here: http://aceee.org/portal/national-policy/international-scorecard.