Energy consumption in households
Data extracted in June 2020
Planned article update: June 2021
In 2018, households represented 26% of final energy consumption, or 17% of gross inland energy consumption, in the EU.
In 2018, natural gas accounted for 32% of the EU final energy consumption in households, electricity for 25%, renewables for 20% and petroleum products for 12%.
The main use of energy by households in the EU in 2018 was for heating their homes (64% of final energy consumption in the residential sector), with renewables accounting for more than a quarter (27%) of EU households space heating consumption.
Households use energy for various purposes: space and water heating, space cooling, cooking, lighting and electrical appliances and other end-uses ( mainly covering uses of energy by households outside the dwellings themselves). Data on the energy consumption of households broken down by end-use, have been collected and published by Eurostat since 2017.
In 2018, households, or the residential sector, represented 26.1 % of final energy consumption or 16.6 % of gross inland energy consumption in the EU.
Energy products used in the residential sector
Most of the EU final energy consumption in the residential sector is covered by natural gas (32.1 %) and electricity (24.7 %). Renewables account for 19.5 %, followed by petroleum products (11.6 %) and derived heat (8.7 %). A small proportion is still covered by coal products (solid fuels) (3.4 %), see Figure 1.
Most EU Member States rely mainly on electricity for meeting their needs in the residential sector (nine Member States use electricity as the main energy source in households), followed by renewable energies (mostly solid biofuels) (renewable energies being the main source of energy in households for eight member states) and natural gas (used by seven Member States). Nevertheless, three Member States use mostly other energy products: Denmark relies mainly on derived heat, Poland's main source of energy are solid fuels and Ireland uses mostly petroleum products, see Table 1.
Energy consumption in households by type of end-use
In the EU, the main use of energy by households is for heating their homes (63.6 % of final energy consumption in the residential sector), see Table 2. Electricity used for lighting and most electrical appliances represents 14.1 % (this excludes the use of electricity for powering the main heating, cooling or cooking systems), while the proportion used for water heating is slightly higher, representing 14.8 %. Main cooking devices require 6.1 % of the energy used by households, while space cooling and other end-uses cover 0.4 % and 1.0 % respectively. Heating of space and water consequently represents 78.4 % of the final energy consumed by households.
The lowest proportions of energy used for space heating are observed in Malta (20.4 %), Portugal (28.2 %) and Spain (43.1 %), and the highest in Luxembourg (78.7 %), Belgium (73.5 %), Estonia (72.7 %), Hungary (71.7 %) and Lithuania (70.3 %) (see Table 3).
Use of energy products in households by purpose
Most of the energy products are almost exclusively used for space and water heating (from 92.1 % of oil products to 100 % of derived heat); only electricity has a wider use (57.2 % for lighting, 25.7 % for heating space and water, 12.1 % for cooking and 1.5 % for cooling) (see Figure 3).
Electricity covers 100 % of the energy needs for lighting and space cooling in the EU but also 83.4 % of the other end-uses and 49.2 % for cooking. Gas plays an essential role in terms of space and water heating (respectively 38.0 % and 40.6 % of the energy consumed for these end-uses) and in cooking (31.0 %). Renewables cover 27.0 % of the energy needs for space heating, 12.6 % for water heating and 5.6 % for cooking. Derived heat plays an important role only in water heating (13.9 %) and in space heating (10.6 %), while oil products still cover 14.1 % of space heating energy use, 13.5 % of cooking and 11.3 % of water heating (see Figure 4).
Fourteen out of 27 EU Member States use mainly renewable energies for heating their homes, with Portugal (80.9 %), Croatia (65.0 %), Bulgaria (59.3 %) and Slovenia (59.2 %) having the largest proportion of their energy consumption for space heating covered by renewables. However, while the number of countries using principally gas for this purpose is smaller (ten Member States), some of them are among the largest energy consumers of the EU – the Netherlands (86.2 %), Slovakia (65.4 %) and Italy (58.4 %) being those where the proportion of gas used for space heating is the highest. Three Member states use mainly petroleum products for space heating: Cyprus (63.0 %), Ireland (50.1 %) and Greece (43.0 %). Finally one Member State (Sweden) mostly relies on derived heat (48.7 %) and one Member State (Poland) uses mainly solid fuels for space heating (44.9 %) (see Table 4).
Derived heat is widely used for water heating in seven Member States, particularly in Denmark (63.2 %), Finland (55.0 %) and Sweden (54.7 %), but again most of the biggest energy consuming countries mainly use gas (with 89.2 % in Netherlands and 65.0 % in Italy) and electricity (50.0 % in France). Electricity is also greatly used for this purpose in Malta (78.7 %), Bulgaria (58.7 %), Croatia (44.5 %) and Hungary (39.5 %). Ireland and Portugal use mainly petroleum products (respectively 44.5 % and 42.2 %), while Cyprus (77.0 %), Greece (45.9 %), Slovenia (41.5 %) and Austria (31.8 %) use renewables (see Table 5).
Cooking is generally based on the use of electricity (in seventeen Member States) and gas (ten Member States) with only Malta and Cyprus using petroleum products for that purpose (respectively 82.9 % and 65.3 %) (see Table 6).
Source data for tables and graphs
The collection of data on energy consumption in households by type of end-use is based on the Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics as amended by Commission Regulation (EU) No 431/2014. The provision of historical series up to 2010 is made on a voluntary basis. Mandatory reporting starts with reference year 2015.
The following countries have applied for derogations: Belgium (for year 2015), Slovakia (for years 2015 and 2016), Cyprus and Estonia (for years 2015, 2016 and 2017).
Further disaggregation of the statistics on final energy consumption is crucial for policy makers to monitor and further develop energy policies. The first sector where this disaggregation was completed and implemented is the residential (or households) sector, followed by the industry sector. Detailed data of the final energy consumption in industry will be available from 2022 (mandatory reporting starts with reference year 2020). Eurostat is currently working with the reporting countries and the data users on breaking down further the final energy consumption in other sectors, namely services and transport activities.
- Energy, transport and environment indicators (2018 edition)
- Shedding light on energy in the EU - A guided tour of energy statistics (2018 edition)
- Energy balance sheets - 2015 data (2017 edition)
- Smarter, greener, more inclusive? - Indicators to support the Europe 2020 strategy
- Sustainable Development in the European Union — Monitoring report on progress towards the SDGs in an EU context
- Panorama of energy: energy statistics to support EU policies and solutions
- It should be noted that the methodologies used are not fully harmonised between the reporting countries; consequently any comparison between different countries cannot be based only on the reported figures.