Indicator Assessment

Progress on energy efficiency in Europe

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-352-en
  Also known as: ENER 037
Published 25 Jan 2016 Last modified 11 May 2021
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Between 1990 and 2013, final energy efficiency increased by 25 % in the EU-28 countries, at an annual average rate of 1.2 % per year. This increase was driven by improvements in the industrial sector (1.9 % per year) and households (1.6 % per year). The rate of improvement was lower in the transport sector (0.9 % per year) and even less in the service sector (0.4 % per year). Half of the efficiency gains achieved through technological innovations in the household sector were offset by the increasing number of electrical appliances in use and larger homes.

This indicator is discontinued. No more assessments will be produced.

Odyssee energy efficiency index (ODEX)

Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)
Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)

Household energy consumption per dwelling by end-use

Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)
Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)

Energy consumption for heating in households

Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)
Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)

Energy consumption for cooling in households

Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)
Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)

Energy consumption for electric appliances in households

Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)
Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)

Drivers for change in the energy consumption per dwelling in households

Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)
Data sources:
  • Odyssee provided by  Earth Observation - Environment (ACRI-ST)

Primary energy consumption of new residential buildings

Data sources:
Data sources:

Energy efficiency improvement for final consumers

  • Between 1990 ans 2013, energy efficiency for final consumers improved by 25 %, at an annual average rate of 1.2 % per year, as measured according to the ODEX indicator[1] (Figure 1). All sectors contributed to the improvement, with the largest gains registered in the industry and households sectors. Since the economic crisis, there has been a net slowdown in the progress of energy efficiency of 1 % per year since 2007 compared to 1.2 % per year between 2000 and 2008.
  • Between 1990 and 2013, energy efficiency in industry improved by 36 % in the EU-28 countries, at an annual average rate of 1.9 % per year. Greater progress was achieved during the nineties, when the rate reached 2.6 % per year. Since 2007, there has been a net slowdown in energy efficiency improvement in industry[2] of 0.7 % per year, which can be at least partially attributed to the economic crisis. Improvements took place in all industrial branches, with notable improvements observed in energy intensive branches. The four most energy intensive branches, which represented around 57 % of industrial energy consumption in 2013, reduced their specific energy consumption, i.e. energy consumption per unit of physical output since 1990, by the following amounts: Chemicals - 3.4 % per year; steel - 1.5 % per year; cement - 1.4 % per year; and paper - 0.9 % per year.
  • Energy efficiency in the household sector increased by 30 % between 1990 and 2013, at an average rate of 1.5 % per year. After the economic crisis, i.e. since 2007, progress in energy efficiency slowed slightly to 1.6 % per year. Most of the progress in this sector was due to energy efficiency improvements for space heating. The renovation of buildings, more efficient new buildings and heating appliances contributed to an a 1.8 % per year improvement, and the diffusion of more efficient large electrical appliances 1.7 % per year. 
  • In the transport sector, energy efficiency increased by 19 % between 1990 and 2013 in the EU as a whole, at an annual average rate of 0.9 %. Most of this progress is due to the increased efficiency of aeroplanes and passenger cars, which improved at a rate of 2.3 % and 0.9 % per year respectively. The energy efficiency of cars, measured by the reduction in the average specific fuel consumption of cars (litres per 100 km) improved by 0.9 % per year, mainly due to the diffusion of more efficient new cars driven by the combined effect of higher fuel prices[3], the shift from gasoline to diesel and several EU and national measures on new cars. A new directive was adopted in 2009 that imposed a limit of 130 g CO2/km for car manufacturers for their average sales by 2015[4], with a target of 95 gCO2/km by 2020. Average emissions levels in 2014 were below 130 g CO2/km in 17 of the 28 Member States. The most efficient cars were bought in the Netherlands (107 g CO2/km), Greece (108 g CO2/km) and Portugal (109 g CO2/km), while the least efficient cars were bought in Estonia (141 g CO2/km), followed by Latvia (140 g CO2/km) and Bulgaria (136 g CO2/km). A new car sold in 2014 emitted, on average, 123 gCO2/km, which is below the 2015 target of 130 g CO2/km (please see here). Europe had already reached its 2015 target by 2013, two years ahead of schedule. For trucks and light vehicles, as well as for rail transport, little improvements has been registered since 1990. Rates for trucks were 0.5 % per year for the period, while those for light vehicles were 0.3 % per year.
  • In the service sector, improvement in energy efficiency reached 7 % in 2013 compared to 1990, e.g. a rate of 0.3 % per year. Low gains in this sector are mainly down to 1.4 % per year increase electricity consumption per employee. Meanwhile, if all fuel is considered, a slight decrease in energy consumption per employee of 0.4 % per year on average can be observed[5]. The increasing trend observed in almost all EU countries is due to an increased use of air conditioning in southern countries, the increased use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other office equipment in general.

[1] The ODEX represents a better estimate for assessing energy efficiency trends at an aggregate level (compared to energy intensity). ODEX is calculated for the following sectors: industry, transport, households and services (only for fuel for this sector).

[2] During the economic crisis, factories and industrial equipment did not operate at full capacity.

[3] The average price of motor fuels for cars (weighted average of gasoline and diesel) was 67 % higher in 2013 than in 1990 in the EU (real prices corrected for inflation). Higher fuel prices are an incentive for consumers to buy more efficient new cars and for manufacturers to develop new cars with improved performance.

[4] Regulation (EC) No 443/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community's integrated approach to reduce COemissions from light-duty vehicles.

[5] At normal climate

  • In 2013, EU final energy consumption reached 1 104 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe). Buildings (households and services) consumed about 40 % of final energy consumption in 2013, while households and services consumed 27 % and 14% respectively. 
  • In 2013, the total floor area of buildings represented around 25 billion square meters in the EU. The residential sector represented about 75 % of the total floor area.
  • In 2013, the average annual specific consumption per square metre for all types of building in the EU was around 215 kWh/m2. Non-residential buildings are on average 70 % more energy intensive than residential buildings, with a consumption of 311 kWh/m2 compared to 184 kWh/m2.

Energy efficiency improvements in households

  • Households energy consumption per dwelling was 1.4 tonnes of oil equivalent (toe) per dwelling (or 184 kWh/m2) in 2013. There are large discrepancies among countries in the level of consumption per dwelling, from less than 0.8 toe per dwelling in Malta, Portugal, Bulgaria and Spain, to around 1.7 toe per dwelling in Sweden, Germany, Austria, Croatia and Finland (Figure 2).
  • Space heating represents almost 67 % of the 2013 energy consumption of households, although the share is decreasing from 73 % in 1990. Water heating represented around 13 % of the 2013 energy consumption of households, followed by electrical appliances at12 %. Energy consumption for cooking represented 5 % of household consumption and lighting 2 %. Air conditioning represented only 0.4 % of household energy consumption, but 2.8 % of the specific electricity from households, up from 0.6 % in 1990.
  • Space heating energy consumption decreased slightly by 0.2 % per year since 1990. On the other hand, the total floor area of dwellings increased by 1.5 % per year, as a result of a 1 % per year increase in the number of dwellings and a 0. 5 % per year growth in the average floor area of dwellings, reaching around 90 m2 on average at EU level.
  • As a result, energy consumption for space heating per dwelling has decreased by 1.2 % per year since 1990. Specific consumption per m2[1] has decreased more rapidly, -1.6 % per year, reaching 126 kWh/m2 in 2013[2] (Figure 3). Significant disparities exist between EU countries, with less than consumption at 80 kWh/m2 in southern countries with lower heating needs (Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Luxembourg and Portugal), and more than 170 kWh/m2 in colder countries such as Poland, Latvia or Finland[3].
  • Energy efficiency improvements for space heating occurred as a result of the better thermal performance of buildings, encouraged by mandatory efficiency standards for new buildings, the increase in the penetration of condensing boilers and heat pumps, and the thermal retrofitting of existing dwellings.
  • Energy consumption for cooling of EU households increased by around 8.3 % per year on average since 1990. More and more dwellings have air conditioning (AC): from 0.8 % in 1990 to around 2.4 % in 2013. The average energy consumption for AC per m2 increased rapidly, at a rate of 1.8 % per year on average at EU level since 1990 (Figure 4). Indeed, the share of dwellings with AC has particularly increased in Italy (from 11 % in 1990 to 37 % in 2013), Spain (from 5 % in 1990 to 60 % in 2013). In Cyprus and Malta, almost 80 % of the residential building stock had AC in 2013. In Slovenia and Bulgaria, the diffusion of AC is more recent but significant, with figures ranging from around 1-2 % in 2000, to 20 % and 30 % of dwellings in 2013, respectively). The share of the most efficient cooling system has increased significantly across Europe: A++, A+++ newly sold air conditioners jumped from 11 % in 2011 to 27 % in 2014[4], driven by the new Energy Label for AC, which entered into force in January 2013[5]. Due to these more efficient air conditioners, the specific consumption per m2 of AC has decreased at EU level.
  • Energy consumption of electric appliances increased on average by 0.9 % per year between 1990 and 2013. Electricity consumption is driven by the increasing amount of household equipment (multi-equipment, IT equipment etc.), although this is offset by technical progress due to the diffusion of more efficient equipment. For large appliances, the improvement in energy efficiency results from technical improvements driven by EU Directives on mandatory labelling for all large appliances and lighting, and from minimum energy standards for cold appliances, as well as from voluntary agreements with European Committee of Domestic Equipment Manufacturers (CECED). As a result, the share of the most efficient appliances (A+, A++ or more recently A+++) has increased significantly: from 10 % in 2005 to 96 % in 2014 for refrigerators (of which 30 % were A++/A+++ in 2014), and from 16.5 % to 90 % for washing machines (of which 43 % were A+++ in 2014)[6]. The number of televisions has almost doubled in the EU, with around 1.9 televisions per household in 2013. At the same time, the specific consumption of televisions increased by around 0.6 % per year since 1990. Today’s high-definition equipment, such as liquid crystal display (LCD) and plasma flat-screen models, consume less energy, but are larger. Screen size has a general relationship to the average active mode power consumption of a television: the larger the screen, the greater the power consumption (Figure 5).
  • Figure 6 presents the decomposition of the energy consumption per dwelling for the EU as a whole, which decreased by 0.8 % per year between 1990 and 2013. This was the result of two opposing factors. On the one hand, the household energy consumption per dwelling increased by 0.8 % per year between 1990 and 2013 because of the increase in the numbers of appliances per dwelling and larger homes. On the other hand, energy savings, resulting from energy efficiency improvements in the various end-uses, contributed to a decrease in household energy consumption of 1.6 % per year over the same period.
  • Ambitious requirements for energy performance in buildings were introduced in EU countries to encourage the renovation of buildings to nearly zero energy building (nZEB) standards. By 2020, all new buildings in the EU should be “nearly-zero energy buildings” according to the EPBD. The required decrease in energy consumption of “low energy buildings” will range from 30 to 50 % of present requirements for new buildings under existing regulations. Figure 7 illustrates the primary energy consumption per m2 for nZEB (new buildings). There is no single, harmonised definition of nZEB across Europe: different nZEB approaches and criteria are used in EU countries, which doesn’t allow for a fair comparison. For most countries, new nZEB buildings are expected to consume less than 50 kWhm2/year (including energy use for water heating, AC, ventilation and lighting). For some other countries, i.e. Latvia, Cyprus, Romania and Austria primary energy consumption is higher.

Energy efficiency improvements in the service sector

  • Space heating represented around 60 % of the energy consumption in the service sector in 2013, even if this share had decreased by 10 % from 1990. Water heating and cooking remain rather stable. In 2013, these two end-uses represented 10 % and 5 % of the energy consumption in the service sector, respectively. AC represented just 2 % of the energy consumption in the service sector, as opposed to 1 % in 1990. 
  • Energy consumption per employee decreased by 0.4 % per year since 1990 at EU level. For electricity, the consumption per employee has increased rapidly in almost all EU countries at a rate of 1.4 % per year on average for EU as a whole. Most countries use between 5 000 and 7 000 kWh per employee (5350 kWh/employee at EU level). France, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Finland use by far the largest amount of electricity per employee (around 30 % more compared to the EU average for France and Sweden, and 50 % more compared to the EU average for Luxembourg and Finland.

[1] Specific consumption per m² is more relevant to assess energy efficiency from a technical point of view than specific consumption per dwelling, as the effect of change in the size of dwellings is removed. If reducing the size of dwellings was considered as a measure to raise the energy efficiency in the household sector, the indicator per dwelling would be more adapted. However, there is no real example of energy efficiency policies trying to limit the size of dwelling.

[2] At normal climate

[3] According to ODYSSEEE-definitions, the floor area corresponds to the average dwelling size. However, in some countries there is considerable amount of heated common areas in multi-family buildings. When this consumption is included in the heating consumption of the household sector, it overestimates the indicator (e.g. by 17 % in Finland).

[4] Source: GFK from “Room air conditioners: recommendations for policy design”

[5] The new Energy Label for air conditioners with classes up to A+++ was introduced in January 2013 (Regulation n°626/2011). New models of AC are very efficient with benchmark values as follows: SEER = 10.1, SCOP=5.9. The first label was introduced in 2002 (Directive 2002/31/EC).

[6] Source: GFK from

Supporting information

Indicator definition

The ODEX index (Figure 1) measures energy efficiency progress by the main sectors (industry, transport and households), as well as for the whole economy (all final consumers). For each sector, the index is calculated as a weighted average of sub-sectoral indices of energy efficiency progress; the sub-sectors are the industrial or service sector branches or end-uses for households or transport modes.

  • The sub-sectoral indices are calculated from variations of unit energy consumption indicators, measured in physical units and selected so as to provide the best “proxy” of energy efficiency progress from a policy evaluation viewpoint. The fact that indices are used enables different units to be combined for a given sector, for instance, for households kWh per appliance, koe/m2, tep per dwelling etc.
  • The weight used to get a weighted aggregate is the share of each sub-sector in the total energy consumption of the sub–sectors considered in the calculation.

 A value of ODEX equal to 90 means a 10 % energy efficiency gain.

The variation of the specific consumption of space heating per dwelling linked to building standards is modelled as the change brought about by the introduction of new dwellings with better insulation than the whole stock, since a base year (e.g. 1990), assuming that the unit consumption of new dwellings is equal to the theoretical value implied by thermal regulations (Figure 2).

This effect is calculated as follows:

∆UCnewt = (UCnewt * nbrlpnt + ∆UCnewt-1 * (nbrlprt – nbrlpnt)) / nbrlprt

with:  ∆UCnewt=0 = ∆UCnewt=1990 = UCt=1990

nbrlprt: stock of dwellings at year t

nbrlpnt: the volume of construction at year t  

UCt: unit consumption per dwelling for space heating at year t


The ODEX index (Figure 1) is represented in percentage change compared with 1990 levels. Improvements in the energy performance of buildings as a result of tightening building codes are also represented in percentage change compared with 1990 levels (Figure 2). The effects of the main drivers influencing progress in energy efficiency are represented in percentage change compared with 1990 levels (Figure 3). Energy consumption per square metre for households (climate corrected) is represented as percentage change compared with a baseline year (1990, 2000). Energy consumption for space heating per square metre for households (climate corrected) is expressed in kWh/m2 (Figure 4). The energy consumption for space heating is expressed in kWh/m2 (Figure 5). Energy consumption for space cooling is represented both in kWh/m2 of average floor area, as well as kWh/m2 of air conditioned space (Figure 6).


Policy context and targets

Context description

Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)

The EED was approved by the European Parliament on 11 September 2012: it includes a set of new measures to meet the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency target to reduce the EU primary energy consumption by 20 %. Related documents are available at: The legal definition and quantification of the EU energy efficiency target is the ''Union's 2020 energy consumption of no more than 1 474 Mtoe primary energy or no more than 1 078 Mtoe of final energy''. With the accession of Croatia, the target was revised to "1 483 Mtoe primary energy or no more than 1 086 Mtoe of final energy''. Following Article 3 of the EED, each Member State had to submit a report to the Commission including an indicative national energy efficiency target for 2020 (

National Energy efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP)

NEEAPs are intended to set energy savings targets and propose concrete measures and actions that would contribute to meeting the targets. They are submitted every three years: the third NEEAPs were submitted in April 2014.

Regulation on emissions for new cars (2009/443) and new light commercial vehicles (2011/510)

Mandatory CO2 standards for new passenger cars were introduced in 2009. The 2009 regulation set a 2015 target of 130 g/km for the fleet average of all manufacturers combined.

Individual manufacturers were allowed a higher CO2 emission value depending on the average vehicle weight of their fleet. The heavier the average weight of the cars sold by a manufacturer, the higher the CO2 level allowed. A similar CO2 standard for new light-commercial vehicles was introduced in 2011. It set a target of 175 g/km for 2017. In July 2012, the European Commission put forward two regulatory proposals to set mandatory CO2 standards for new cars and vans in 2020. Target values of 95 g/km of CO2 for the new car fleet and 147 g/km of CO2 for vans for 2020 have been set.

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive: recast version in 2010 (2010/31/EU) EPBD, 2002/91/EC

The Directive on Energy Performance in Buildings (EPBD) is the main legislative instrument affecting energy use and efficiency in the building sector in the EU. The Directive tackles both new build and existing housing stock. Originally approved in 2002, this Directive is now being replaced by a recast Directive that was approved on 19 May 2010.

Energy Labelling Directive: recast version in 2010 (2010/30/EC) Directive 92/75/EEC

The Energy Labelling Directive 2010/30/EU is a framework Directive that facilitates the labelling of products so that the power consumption of one make and model can be compared to another, allowing consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.

Ecodesign Directive: recast version in 2009 (2009/125/EC)/(2005/32/EC)

The Ecodesign Directive sets a framework for performance criteria for energy-using and energy-related products, which manufacturers must meet in order to legally bring their product to the market. Minimum requirements have to be fulfilled by appliances to get the European Commission label and to be introduced in the European market.

The first Directive was adopted in 2005. Its scope was expanded in 2009 to all energy-related products. From September 2015, the Ecodesign Directive will concern heating equipment and the production of hot water, defining new levels of performance and features to meet new energy labels.

Energy Services Directive: (ESD) 2006/32/EC

This directive sets out targets for annual energy savings of 1 % per year for each Member State between 2008 and 2012. For the same period, strong incentives were given by the Directive for Member States to ensure that suppliers of energy offer a certain level of energy service.

A Roadmap for moving to a competitive low carbon economy in 2050 (COM(2011) 112 final)

The Roadmap presents actions in line with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 % by 2050.

Energy 2020, A strategy for competitive, sustainable and secure energy COM(2010) 639 final

The Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions sets out as first priority, four types of action to achieve an energy-efficient Europe:

  • Action 1: Tapping into the biggest energy-saving potential — buildings and transport.
  • Action 2: Reinforcing industrial competitiveness by making industry more efficient.
  • Action 3: Reinforcing efficiency in energy supply.
  • Action 4: Making the most of National Energy Efficiency Action Plans.


Adoption of the 'energy-climate'' package on December 2008 (also called the ''20-20-20 plan")

This package sets legally binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 20 % below 1990 levels and to increase the share of renewable energy to 20 %, both by 2020 (10 % in transport). It will also help achieve the EU's objective of improving energy efficiency by 20 % within the same time frame.

The climate and energy package consists of four legislative texts:

-        A Directive revising the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), which covers some 40 % of EU greenhouse gas emissions;

-        An "effort-sharing" Decision setting binding national targets for emissions from sectors not covered by the EU ETS;

-        A Directive setting binding national targets for increasing the share of renewable energy in the energy mix; and

-        A Directive creating a legal framework for the safe and environmentally sound use of carbon capture and storage technologies.

Energy efficiency: delivering the 20 % target - COM(2008) 772 final

European leaders committed themselves to reducing primary energy consumption by 20 % compared to projections for 2020. Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way of reducing energy consumption while maintaining an equivalent level of economic activity. Improving energy efficiency also addresses the key energy challenges of climate change, energy security and competitiveness.


Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency establishes a common framework of measures for the promotion of energy efficiency within the European Union in order to achieve the headline target of a 20 % reduction in primary energy consumption. Member States are requested to set indicative targets. It is up to the Member states whether they base their targets on primary energy consumption, final energy consumption, primary or final energy savings or energy intensity. However, this indicator does not monitor progress at EU level on the energy efficiency target (different methodologies may be applied for this purpose particularly if the emphasis is on energy savings) but it does provide an indication of progress to date in achieving energy efficiency (in this context energy efficiency means mainly improvements in technological performance).

Related policy documents



Methodology for indicator calculation

Technical information

  • Data sources:
    • Energy consumption by sector from Eurostat energy balances (July 2015)
    • Detailed energy consumption and their drivers from the Odyssee database, Enerdata, September 2015 update; the Odyssee database covers detailed energy consumption by sector, by fuel and by end-uses for the EU as a whole, and Norway. 
  • Description of data/indicator definition:
    • Energy efficiency index (Figure 1). 

The ODEX indicator, or energy efficiency index, is calculated for each end-use sector (industry, transport, residential and tertiary) and for the whole economy (all end-use sectors).

For each sector, the index is calculated as a weighted average of sub-sectoral indices of energy efficiency progress; sub-sectors are industrial or service sector branches or end-uses for households or transport modes. The sub-sectoral indices are calculated from variations of unit energy consumption indicators, measured in physical units (for instance tons of steel, tonne-km for transport of goods, m² for offices, etc.). They provide the best “proxy” of energy efficiency progress from a policy evaluation viewpoint. All these sub-sectoral indices are then aggregated and weighted by their respective share in the final energy consumption of the sector to a single energy efficiency index or ODEX that measures energy efficiency progress.

A decrease in the specific energy consumption indicators indicates that energy efficiency has been improving, if not it results in negative energy efficiency improvements, maybe due to inefficient use of equipment, as is often observed for instance during an economic recession. Therefore, it is necessary to separate technical efficiency from observed efficiency. This is done for the ODEX (see dedicated sheet) by calculating a technical energy efficiency index (in this case we only consider decreases in specific consumption (if not the index remains constant). A value of the energy efficiency index equal to 90 means a 10 % energy efficiency gain.

For industry, the evaluation is carried out at the level of 14 branches:

  • 8 main branches: chemicals, food, textile and leather, machinery, transport equipment, wood, construction, mining;
  • 3 energy intensive branches: steel, cement and pulp and paper
  • 3 residual branches: other primary metals (i.e. primary metals minus steel), other non-metallic minerals (i.e. non-metallic minerals minus cement, other branches).

The unit consumption is expressed in terms of energy used per ton produced for energy intensive products (steel, cement and paper) and in terms of energy used related to the production index for the other branches.

For the transport sector, the evaluation is carried out at the level of seven modes or vehicle types: cars, trucks and light vehicles, motorcycles, buses, air transport, rail and water transport. 

For cars, energy efficiency is measured by the specific consumption, expressed in litres/100km.

For the transport of goods (trucks and light vehicles), the unit consumption per tonne-km is used, as the main activity is to move goods.

For other modes of transport, various indicators of unit consumption are used, taking for each mode the most relevant indicator given the statistics available:

  • toe per passenger for air transport,
  • goe per passenger km for passenger rail,
  • goe per transport km for transport of goods by rail and water,
  • toe per vehicle for motorcycles and buses.


For households, the evaluation is carried out at the level of three end-uses (heating, water heating, cooking) and five large appliances (refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, dishwashers and TVs).

For each end-use, the following indicators are considered to measure efficiency progress:

  • Heating: unit consumption per m2 at normal climate (toe/m2)[1]
  • Water heating: unit consumption per dwelling with water heating;
  • Cooking: unit consumption per dwelling;
  • Large electrical appliances: specific electricity consumption, in kWh per year per appliance.


For tertiary, the energy efficiency index is calculated by branches (e.g. six branches, including offices, education, health, wholesale and retail, hotels and restaurants, and other services) based on the energy consumption per employee. For some countries and the EU as a whole (due to lack of data or robust data by branches), the index is calculated using aggregate indicators, i.e. fuel and electricity consumption per employee.

  • Energy consumption of households by end-use (Figure 2-5).

The energy consumption of households can be disaggregated to cover different end-uses: space heating, water heating, cooking, cooling, lighting and electrical appliances.

Household energy consumption for space heating per dwelling relates the energy consumption of the household sector for space heating to the number of permanently occupied dwellings. Household energy consumption for space heating per square metre is obtained by dividing the unit consumption per dwelling.

Household energy consumption for cooling per square metre is obtained by dividing the energy consumption per dwelling for space cooling by cooled floor area (cooled floor area is calculated by multiplying the average floor area by the number of permanent dwellings and the share of dwellings with air conditioning).

Household energy consumption of electrical appliances per dwelling is calculated by dividing the electricity consumption for all appliances by the number of permanently occupied dwellings. The electrical appliances considered here are all those with specific (captive) uses of electricity. Space heating systems, water heaters or cooking appliances are not included.

Total floor area represents the average floor area of a dwelling multiplied by the number of dwellings. It is expressed in m2.

  • Drivers for change in the energy consumption per dwelling in households (Figure 6).

The energy consumption per dwelling can be explained by four factors:

  • Equipment ownership effect, due to the increased number of appliances per dwelling (central heating effect, increasing number of electrical appliances, diffusion of efficient lamps etc.);
  • Size effect, due to larger dwellings;
  • Efficiency progress, as measured by ODEX (see definition above);
  • Other effects (mainly change in heating behaviour).
  • Geographical coverage:
     EU-28 countries plus Norway.
  • Methodology and frequency of data collection:
    Data collected twice a year in the framework of the ODYSSEE MURE project (

Qualitative information

  • Strengths and weaknesses (at data level)
    Last Odyssee update: September 2015
  • Reliability, accuracy, robustness, uncertainty (at data level):
    Accuracy: 2
  • Overall scoring – (1 = no major problems, 3 = major reservations):

Relevance: 1
Accuracy: 2
Indicators used in the ODYSSEE database are comparable over time and space. Raw data collected have the same clear definition, as do indicators.

Methodology for gap filling

To calculate the ODEX (Figure 1), data submitted to the ODYSSEE project by countries on a voluntary basis are used. Not all countries submit the necessary data. Therefore, for the EU-28, data extrapolations based as far as possible on Eurostat supporting data (e.g. growth rates, shares of various energy forms in final energy consumption, etc) are used. In this way some consistency between the top-down calculations and the bottom-up calculations made for specific countries is ensured (also country data make use of Eurostat where possible).

To calculate the effect of new building codes (Figure 2), the theoretical unit consumption of new dwellings for the EU as a whole is based on an extrapolation from 11 representative countries (Italy, France, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia). The theoretical consumption for new dwellings by country is weighted according to annual construction to be able to produce results at EU level.

Methodology references



Methodology uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sets uncertainty

The ODYSSEE database contains energy consumption and its drivers, which are provided by energy agencies or their representatives in all EU countries and Norway. Quality control checks are performed to ensure the good quality of the database and to improve the transparency, consistency, comparability, completeness and accuracy of data retrieved from the ODYSSEE database. Examples of general quality control checks include checking for transcription errors in data inputs, checking of source reliability, checking the inner consistency of data (e.g. the sum of energy consumption by residential end-uses is coherent with total residential consumption), consistency with other sources (e.g Eurostat), checking that indicators are calculated correctly (through graphical representation over years to check discrepancy or outliers between countries).

Rationale uncertainty

No uncertainty has been specified

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Response
Typology: Efficiency indicator (Type C - Are we improving?)
Indicator codes
  • ENER 037
Frequency of updates
This indicator is discontinued. No more assessments will be produced.
EEA Contact Info


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage





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Filed under: energy, energy efficiency
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