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Trends in residential energy consumption in the EU and impact of energy efficiency policies

The EU has adopted targets for an energy consumption reduction of 20% in year 2020 and 27 to 30% in 2030 compared to projected energy consumption in the same year under a Business as Usual scenario modelled with Primes in 2007. The residential sector is responsible for about 24.8 % of the final EU energy consumption (the third largest sector after the transport and industry sectors). Several policies have been adopted in the EU since the nineties in order to reduce energy consumption in the residential sector, both at EU level (Eco-design, Energy Labelling, Energy Performances of Buildings, etc.) and at national level (subsidies, information campaigns, energy supplier obligations, etc.). It is of great importance to understand and explain the energy consumption trends in the residential sector, and in particular the contribution of energy efficiency policies. The present paper shortly describes, in the introduction, the EU policies adopted, then presents and discusses the most recent trends in residential energy consumption and other factors that help in understanding energy consumption trends such as GDP, population, number of dwellings, Heating Degree Days. Based on the analysis of the data presented and correlation, conclusions on the impact of adopted policies are presented and discussed as a contribution to better understand the impact of policies and other trends on energy consumption.