Energy

Heating and cooling

Heating and cooling plays a crucial role in the EU’s ambition to transition into a clean and carbon-neutral economy by 2050, specifically as heating and cooling in buildings and industry accounts for half of the EU’s energy consumption, making it the biggest energy end-use sector ahead of both transport and electricity.

In EU households, heating and hot water alone account for 79% of total final energy use (192.5 Mtoe), according to a study on mapping and analysis of the 2020-2030 heating/cooling deployment from 2016. Cooling is a fairly small share of total final energy use, but demand from households and businesses, such as the food industry, usually increase during the summer months. This trend is also linked to climate change and increases in temperature.

In industry, 70.6% of energy consumption (193.6 Mtoe) was used for space and industrial process heating, 26.7% (73.3 Mtoe) for lighting and electrical processes, such as machine motors, and 2.7% (7.2 Mtoe) for cooling.

According to 2019 figures from Eurostat, approximately 75% of heating and cooling is still generated from fossil fuels while only 22% is generated from renewable energy. To fulfil the EU’s climate and energy goals, the heating and cooling sector must sharply reduce its energy consumption and cut its use of fossil fuels.

EU strategy for heating and cooling

Reducing the energy demand in heating and cooling is an important element of decarbonisation policy and is essential for reducing energy bills and increasing the share of renewable energy.

Advanced construction and design techniques, as well as using sustainable materials when constructing or renovating buildings is a key stepping stone in achieving the energy goals. Modern technology moreover offers solutions to better manage and reduce the energy consumption , such as smart thermostats and smart meters,. Energy can also be saved by replacing heating and cooling equipment at their natural end-of-life, with more advanced systems.

Other renewable heating and cooling technologies, such as biomass boilers and solar heating systems, contribute to reducing the use of fossil fuels. Energy-efficient technologies and energy management solutions can be applied for the industry, and combined heat and power units can benefit the energy system and local energy generation.

In February 2016, the Commission proposed an EU heating and cooling strategy as a first step in exploring the issues and challenges in this sector, and solving them with EU energy policies.

In line with proposed solutions in the strategy, the Commission initiated a series of roundtables for the representatives of the industry in 2018 and 2019, to discuss the barriers in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Based on the input from the roundtables and an analysis of barriers, drivers and best practice policies, recommendations for EU-level policy interventions were presented in a study “Shaping a sustainable industry: Guidance for best practices and policy recommendations”(January 2020). 

With the aim of long-term decarbonisation of heating and cooling, the Commission adopted in 2020 the EU strategy on energy system integration and the renovation wave strategy. Both of these strategies stress the importance of the heating and cooling sector in the overall decarbonisation policy and lay down concrete actions how to achieve the EU 2050 decarbonisation objectives.

Comprehensive assessments

In line with Article 14 of the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU), EU countries are requested to carry out a comprehensive assessment on efficient heating and cooling, and notify the European Commission once it has been done. Based on a request from the Commission, these assessments should be carried out every five years. The Member States were requested to submit their updated assessments by 31 December 2020.

The revised Annex VIII to the directive (amended by Delegated Regulation 2019/826/EU) describes the methodology for the assessments. Notably, the assessments have to comply with legislation on the energy union, and they must be closely linked with planning of policy measures to the Regulation on the governance of the energy union and climate action (EU/2018/1999).

Article 14.1 comprehensive assessments by EU countries

Open or close table

EU country
2015 assessment
2020 assessment
Austria

de | en

de
Belgium

nl & fr en

 
Bulgaria

bu | en

 
Croatia

hr | en

 
Cyprus

en

annexes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

 
Czechia

cz | en

 
Denmark

da | en

da | da annexes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

en | en annexes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Estonia

ee | en

 
Finland

fi | en

fi | fi annexes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

en | en annexes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

France

fr  | en

annexes: 12 | 3

fr | fr annex

en| en annex

Germany

de | en

de | de annex
Greece

el | en

 
Hungary

hu | en

annexes: 1 | 2 , 1en | 2en

 
Ireland

en

 
Italy

it | en, update it | update en

 
Latvia
lv | en  
Lithuania

lt  | en

 
Luxembourg

de | en

 
Malta

en

en

annexes 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Netherlands

nl 1, nl 2 | en 1, en 2

annex

nl | en
Poland

pl | en

 
Portugal

pt | en

 
Romania

ro | en

 
Slovakia

sk | en

 
Slovenia

sl | en

 
Spain

es | en

 
Sweden

sv | en

sv
United Kingdom

en

 

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