Revealing potential of energy-saving behind emission reduction: A DEA-based empirical study

Douqing Zhang, Mingjun Li*, Xiang Ji, Jie Wu, Yilun Dong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to generate quantitative managerial insights for the improvement of the energy-saving potential and the coordinated development between economic growth and environmental protection. Design/methodology/approach: A novel data envelopment analysis (DEA) model, based on the classical DEA theory, is developed from the perspective of emission reduction. Findings: The empirical results indicate that China’s overall environmental efficiency is low and that there is huge improvement space for energy saving. Under the concerns of emission reduction, the energy-saving potential of the central region exceeds that of both the eastern and western regions. With regard to water, electricity and gas consumption, the electricity-saving potential exceeds the potential for both water saving and gas saving. Originality/value: Previous studies rarely focused on the energy-saving potential, while considering environmental pollution. This paper applies a novel DEA method to evaluate the energy-saving potential of 30 Chinese provinces for 2015 with a focus on emission reduction concerns. Furthermore, both regional differences and energy type differences of the saving potential were analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)714-730
Number of pages17
JournalManagement of Environmental Quality: An International Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Data envelopment analysis (DEA)
  • Energy-saving potential
  • Environmental efficiency
  • Environmental protection


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