Heating degree days (CLIM 047) - Assessment published Nov 2012
Climate change (Primary topic)
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A – What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
- CLIM 047
Key policy question: How is climate change affecting the energy demand for space heating across Europe?
- 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)
- Heating degree days - annual data provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
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), http://circa.europa.eu/Public/irc/env/wfd/library?l=/framework_directive/climate_adaptation/climwatadapt_report.
[ii] Pre-publication of results from the ClimateCost project (http://www.climatecost.cc)
Heating degree days - annual data
provided by Statistical Office of the European Union (Eurostat)
More information about this indicator
See this indicator specification for more details.