Household energy consumption
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2001
ClassificationHousehold consumption (Primary theme)
DPSIR: Driving force
Policy issue: Do European households consume less energy?
Higher energy standards for houses and the introduction of more efficient electrical appliances and heating installations have not led to a decrease in total energy and electricity consumption by households.
The household sector is one of the largest users of energy in the EEA, consuming 29% of final energy consumption (excluding energy used for transport). Between 1985 and 1998, the actual amount of energy consumed per household remained nearly constant, but the growing number of households increased energy use by 4%.
Energy consumption per household fell slightly in northern countries and rose in southern Europe as well as in Austria and Ireland.
Examining how this energy is used shows the impact of improved insulation. New dwellings now need 22% less energy for space heating than those built in 1985, which is why the energy consumed for space heating dropped slightly, despite the fact that there are now more and larger households, kept at warmer temperatures.
Working against this good news is the increased consumption of electricity. Household electrical appliances are becoming more efficient, but there are more of them and they are being used more often, while electricity prices have dropped every year by about 1%. Overall, though, this trend is slowing - the second half of the 1980s saw electricity use grow 2.1% every year, but between 1990 and 1997 the annual increase slowed to 0.9%.