The function of ECBCS is to undertake research and provide an international focus for building energy efficiency. Tasks are undertaken through a series of annexes that are directed at energy saving technologies and activities that support their application in practice. Results are also used in the formulation of international and national energy conservation policies and standards. ECBCS undertakes a diverse range of activities both through its individual annexes and through centrally organised development and information exchange. ECBCS countries are free to choose which Annexes to take part in. Activities usually take the form of a 'Task Shared' Annex in which each country commits an agreed level of effort. Occasionally an Annex may be either jointly or part jointly funded. More informal activities take place through Working Groups.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) was established in 1974 within the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to implement an international energy programme. A basic aim of the IEA is to foster co-operation among the twenty-four IEA participating countries and to increase energy security through energy conservation, development of alternative energy sources and energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D).