A quarter of all Ireland's energy use is directly by all homes, known as the residential sector.
Residential sector has a large share of energy use
The residential sector accounts for about one quarter of the energy used in Ireland. It is also responsible for 19% of the energy-related CO2 emissions. The fuel shares are relatively stable, with a gradual increase in the share of electricity, gas and of renewables and a continuing though gradual decline in coal, peat and oil use. It is notable that electricity consumption over the period was at its highest in 2021.
Residential Final Energy Demand
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Residential Final Energy (ktoe),Residential Final Energy Demand,Weather Corrected Residential Final Energy Demand 2005,3298,3365 2006,3322,3428 2007,3272,3462 2008,3583,3446 2009,3483,3345 2010,3636,3191 2011,3192,3169 2012,3038,2905 2013,2960,2812 2014,2678,2673 2015,2844,2729 2016,2949,2865 2017,2861,2859 2018,3046,2942 2019,2976,2925 2020,3204,3188 2021,3073,3066
Final residential energy use by fuel type
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Residential Final Energy by fuel (ktoe),Coal,Peat,Oil,Natural Gas,Renewables,Electricity 2005,252,280,1543,622,20,648 2006,227,295,1527,657,23,699 2007,223,291,1579,635,34,701 2008,219,267,1564,638,31,728 2009,254,259,1505,595,39,693 2010,214,216,1401,606,38,716 2011,213,239,1399,564,41,711 2012,228,203,1168,568,46,692 2013,251,204,1063,568,48,677 2014,236,200,990,534,51,662 2015,235,191,1046,527,59,672 2016,248,190,1146,543,64,673 2017,196,188,1171,555,65,684 2018,208,188,1202,578,68,698 2019,182,180,1214,579,74,697 2020,194,188,1388,586,82,749 2021,185,179,1267,593,85,757
Dominance of oil
Oil remains the dominant fuel in the residential sector. Electricity was the second largest source of energy in the sector in 2021, with natural gas having the next largest share.
Weather corrected oil and gas use
Changes in oil consumption caused most of the fluctuation in residential energy use between 2007 and 2021.
A likely reason for the higher fluctuation in oil consumption may be the volatility in oil prices. Additionally, the majority of oil-fired homes are located in rural areas and constructed as detached buildings (with more external wall area). Finally, rural areas may offer greater opportunity to fuel switch from oil to solid fuels.
Total electricity consumption had peaked in 2008, having more than doubled since 1990. It reduced between 2008 and 2014, but since grew yearly — reaching a new peak in 2021. There is evidence that the growth of large household appliances is levelling off. At the same time, there has been an increase in appliance efficiency. Additionally, there was an increase in electricity prices over the period.
From 2005 to 2021 renewable energy quadrupled, but from a low starting point. New building regulations require new homes to generate a portion of their energy from renewable energy, and this has seen a large increase in the use of solar thermal water heating, solar PV electricity, and heat pumps which provide renewable ambient energy.
Final energy by end-use
Electricity,Space heating,70.76 Electricity,Water heating,88.4 Electricity,Cooking,52.55 Electricity,Lighting and appliances,511.92 Electricity,Other end uses,27.83 Gas,Space heating,417.55 Gas,Water heating,157.79 Gas,Cooking,14.42 Gas,Lighting and appliances,0 Gas,Other end uses,0 Solid Fuels,Space heating,355.57 Solid Fuels,Water heating,36.17 Solid Fuels,Cooking,0 Solid Fuels,Lighting and appliances,0 Solid Fuels,Other end uses,0 Oil,Space heating,1014.05 Oil,Water heating,299.27 Oil,Cooking,1.41 Oil,Lighting and appliances,0 Oil,Other end uses,0 Renewables,Space heating,50.58 Renewables,Water heating,30.2 Renewables,Cooking,0 Renewables,Lighting and appliances,0 Renewables,Other end uses,0
Challenge of gathering end-use data
It's important for us to understand how energy is consumed in homes. In particular, it is useful to know the portion of energy consumed for the main end-uses. These include space heating, water heating, cooking, lighting and electric appliances. For 2020 we estimate that 61% of all energy used in households was for space heating, 20% for water heating, 16% for lighting & appliances, and 2% for cooking.
We cannot collect data on energy by end-use in the same way as by fuel type. For example, it's not possible to know from an electricity meter reading how much electricity is used for for water heating versus appliances. To estimate the split, SEAI developed a model of household energy use based on information from the BER database.
Energy-related CO₂ emissions
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Residential Carbon Emissions (ktCO2),Coal,Peat,Oil,Natural Gas,Electricity 2005,989,1170,4572,1443,4775 2006,877,1216,4446,1504,4819 2007,835,1163,4465,1414,4523 2008,922,1195,4959,1593,4671 2009,1069,1161,4771,1492,4260 2010,1008,1085,4950,1697,4527 2011,864,1034,4259,1360,4196 2012,968,915,3729,1430,4433 2013,1078,929,3415,1422,3872 2014,953,855,2984,1272,3671 2015,995,858,3311,1323,3828 2016,1036,842,3569,1316,3942 2017,792,807,3519,1296,3617 2018,876,841,3765,1411,3162 2019,753,787,3721,1387,2735 2020,788,811,4192,1387,2696 2021,752,772,3816,1404,3062
CO2 emissions by fuel source
The chart shows residential energy-related CO2 emissions split by fuel source. Oil, gas, coal and peat are burnt directly within the home. We also factor in CO2 emissions from electricity generating stations producing electricity for homes.
Electricity use was the largest source of CO2 emissions from households from 1990 up to 2017. From 2018 onwards, emissions from electricity were overtaken by those from oil consumption.
Final energy per dwelling
Energy intensity per dwelling,Non-electric energy,Non-electric (Weather corrected),Electricity 2005,21774,22305,5303 2006,20890,21702,5528 2007,19996,21414,5377 2008,21562,20566,5547 2009,20568,19587,5160 2010,20931,17859,5302 2011,17484,17327,5023 2012,16402,15514,4896 2013,15869,14881,4764 2014,13966,13935,4591 2015,14925,14174,4669 2016,15562,15012,4638 2017,14823,14810,4663 2018,15872,15198,4761 2019,15332,15008,4711 2020,16438,16331,5025 2021,15430,15383,5043
In 2021 the average home used 20,424 kWh of energy (weather corrected) — split into 75% from direct fuel (non-electric) and 25% from electricity. This split of energy sources was steady since 2011, the year when fuel use dropped significantly.
Weather correction yields a lower normalised energy consumption in cold years (e.g. 2010), and yields a higher normalised consumption in mild years (e.g. 2007).
Annual variations in weather affect the space heating requirements of occupied buildings. Weather correction involves adjusting the energy used for space heating by benchmarking the weather in a particular year with that of a long-term average measured in terms of numbers of degree days.
Energy-related CO₂ emissions per home
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CO2 emissions per home,Total CO2,Non-electrical CO2,Electricity CO2 2005,9.14,5.77,3.37 2006,8.79,5.5,3.3 2007,8.27,5.25,3.02 2008,8.68,5.64,3.04 2009,8.1,5.39,2.71 2010,8.23,5.42,2.81 2011,7.1,4.56,2.54 2012,6.92,4.24,2.67 2013,6.42,4.1,2.32 2014,5.8,3.61,2.19 2015,6.11,3.84,2.27 2016,6.31,3.98,2.32 2017,5.88,3.76,2.12 2018,5.86,4.01,1.84 2019,5.43,3.85,1.58 2020,5.69,4.13,1.55 2021,5.62,3.86,1.75
Overall energy related CO₂ emissions
In 2021 the average home emitted 5.6 tonnes of energy-related CO2. Of this total, 69% were from direct-fuel use, and 31% indirectly from electricity use.
Emissions of energy-related CO2 per home fell by 45% since 2001. After decreases in the CO2 intensity of grid electricity, increases in home CO2 emissions have diverged from increases in home energy use.
The fall and rise in fuel emissions simply reflect the fall and rise in the burning of fossil fuels, particularly oil.
Home CO2 emissions from electricity reduced by nearly 60% during the entire 2001-2021 period. This long-term decline reflects the reductions in usage and carbon intensity of grid electricity.
SEAI National BER research tool
The BER Research Tool gives researchers access to statistical data from the Building Energy Rating (BER) scheme which is administered by SEAI. The BER certificate indicates the annual primary energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions associated with the provision of space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting to the home. This tool provides access to information on all aspects of construction that affect the energy performance of homes. Results can be viewed on screen or downloaded in the form of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.Go to National BER research tool
Energy in the Residential Sector report
Our Energy in the Residential Sector 2018 report provides detailed data and analysis. It also offers a comparison of Irish homes to those of other EU countries.Go to latest Energy in the Residential Sector report