Energy in the Residential Sector
From 2006 to 2014 there were significant reductions in energy use in Irish homes. Since 2014 this trend has reversed.
Household energy use in Ireland
This report presents statistics on energy use in the residential sector. It shows trends in energy demand and associated carbon emissions. The residential sector had the second largest final energy demand in 2016, after the transport sector.
6.7%Increase in CO₂ from 2014 to 2016
€3.4bnCost of energy to Irish households in 2016
60%More CO₂ in the Irish household than the average EU home
There was a significant improvement in energy intensity of Irish dwellings post 2007. However, compared to the EU average Irish dwellings perform poorly in terms of energy intensity. This is particularly true of carbon dioxide emissions. The report explores the reasons behind these trends and Ireland's poor performance.
Many of the economic factors that contributed to the reduction in household energy intensity witnessed post 2007 eased or reversed after 2014. Disposable incomes increased and oil prices reduced. In response to the easing of these pressures, residential energy use returned to growth between 2014 and 2016.
Reduction in energy use per dwelling
|Ireland||EU28 Average||EU28 Max||EU28 Min|
Up until the mid 2000s Ireland had one of the highest energy intensities per dwelling of any EU country. From 2007 onwards there was a significant reduction in the energy intensity of Irish dwellings. Despite this improvement by 2015 we still remained 7% above the EU average.
The decrease in residential energy use between 2007 and 2014 was due to a combination of:
- Improved thermal efficiency due to retrofitting and building regulations
- Reduced household incomes and expenditure, due to the economic downturn
- High energy prices
There is an urgent need to reduce energy consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions within our residential sector.
High carbon emissions per dwelling
|Ireland||EU28 Average||EU28 Max||EU28 Min|
In 2015, the average Irish dwelling emitted more energy related carbon dioxide than any other EU country. We emitted 58% more than the average EU dwelling. This is due to greater use of high-carbon fuels including oil, coal and peat.
Improving energy efficiency
The energy efficiency of the dwelling stock has been improved. This been achieved by new building regulations governing energy efficiency of new dwellings and by carrying out energy efficiency retrofits to a large share of the stock of existing dwellings.
60%Efficiency improvement of dwellings built since 2011 compared to 2005
375,000Homes received government grants for energy efficiency improvements between 2000 and 2016
98%Share of new dwellings built in 2016 that had an A rating
High energy prices
SEAI domestic fuel price comparison
|Oil||Natural Gas||Bagged Wood Pellets||Electricity|
The period 2011 to 2016 saw record high energy prices for electricity, gas and oil:
- Oil prices peaked in 2012 at 10.4 €cent/kWh – 147% above the 2000-2005 average
- Gas peaked in 2014 at 7.45 €cent/kWh – 135% above the 2000-2005 average
- Electricity price peaked in 2014 at 23.35 €cent/kWh – 101% above the 2000-2005 average
Increase in fuel poverty
|Without heating at some stage||Unable to afford to keep the home adequately heated|
The percentage of individuals reporting that they are unable to afford to keep their home adequately warm increased from 4% in 2006 to 10% in 2013. Although the situation improved somewhat in 2014-15, fuel-poverty remained well above the 2006 to 2008 levels.
Few people living in apartments
The floor area of the average Irish dwelling is amongst the largest in the EU. This is one reason for the higher average energy consumption of Irish homes. The larger average floor area of Irish dwellings is partly because of Ireland's low share of apartments.
In 2015 7% of Irish people lived in apartments, the lowest proportion of any EU member state. The next nearest member state was the UK at 15%, while 66% of the population in Spain lives in apartments. The average across the whole EU28 was 33%.
Carbon intensive fuel mix
The most important reason for the high carbon dioxide emissions of Irish dwellings is the the mix of fuels we use.
Coal and peat use
15% of energy used in Irish households is from direct use of coal and peat. These are the two most carbon intensive fuels, and Ireland uses more of them per dwelling than any other EU member state, apart from Poland.
36% of energy used in Irish households is from oil, the highest proportion of any EU member state except for Cyprus. Oil is less carbon intensive than coal but more carbon intensive than gas.
Ireland’s electricity is also one of the most carbon intensive in the EU.
Energy in the Residential Sector Report
The full report provides extensive details on energy use in the residential sector broken down in different ways. This includes factors influencing energy demand, carbon intensity in the residential sector, and international comparison.