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Heating degree days (CLIM 047) - Assessment published Nov 2012

Indicator Assessment Created 15 Nov 2012 Published 20 Nov 2012 Last modified 20 Nov 2012, 06:50 PM

Generic metadata


Climate change Climate change (Primary topic)

Energy Energy

Urban environment Urban environment

heating degree | climate change | energy | climate change impacts
DPSIR: Impact
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CLIM 047
Temporal coverage:
Geographic coverage:
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom

Key policy question: How is climate change affecting the energy demand for space heating across Europe?

Key messages

  • The number of heating degree days (HDD) has decreased by an average of 16 per year since 1980. This helps reduce the demand for heating, particularly in northern and north-western Europe.
  • Climate change will affect future energy and electricity demand. Climate change is not expected to change total energy demand in Europe substantially across Europe, but there may be significant seasonal effects, with large regional differences.

Trend in heating degree days in the EU-27

Note: Trend in heating degree days in the EU-27 (1980 - 2009). Eurostat calculates heating degree days as (18 °C - Tmean) if Tmean is lower than 15 °C (heating threshold) and zero if Tmean is greater than or equal 15 °C; Tmean is the mean daily outdoor temperature, calculated as Tmean = (Tmin + Tmax / 2)

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Trend in heating degree days in the EU-27

Note: The map shows the trend in heating degree days in the EU-27 (1980-2009)

Data source:
Downloads and more info

Key assessment

Past trends

The number of heating degree days (HDD) has decreased by 13 % over the last 3 decades, yet with substantial interannual variation (Figure 1). Figure 2 shows that the decrease in HDD has not been homogeneous across Europe. The absolute decrease has been largest in the cool regions in northern Europe where heating demand is highest.


Temperatures in Europe are projected to continue to increase. Hence, the trend of decreasing numbers of HDD is very likely to continue, and most likely to accelerate. For example, the heat demand for space heating in 2050 was projected to decrease by 25 % in the UK [i], and by 9 % in the EU ([ii]).

[i] Martina Flörke et al., Climate Adaptation – modelling water scenarios and sectoral impacts. Final Report Contract N° DG ENV.D.2/SER/2009/0034 (Kassel, Germany: Center for Environmental Systems Research, University of Kassel, Oktober 28, 2011),

[ii] Pre-publication of results from the ClimateCost project (

Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

User not found: fussehan


EEA Management Plan

2012 2.0.1 (note: EEA internal system)


Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 4 years in October-December (Q4)
European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100