Space heating is the largest end use in the residential sector in the International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries, with approximately 48% share. Since 2000, space heating intensity in households – defined as energy consumption per residential floor area – significantly decreased in most IEA countries. For instance, countries such as Australia, France, Germany, Korea and Sweden have experienced reductions of over 35% during this period. Such improvements can be attributed, for example, to better building insulation, refurbishment of old buildings and improvements in heating equipment.
For residential emissions, the share of space heating tends to be significantly higher than for energy in countries with low-carbon electricity generation (such as France, Sweden and Switzerland); reflecting the challenge of decarbonising the provision of this important energy service.
The results found from the latest data in the IEA energy efficiency indicators database suggest that there is still a vast untapped potential for energy saving and decarbonisation in buildings. For these and more detailed insights across sectors and end uses (for example, space cooling in services sector), as well as energy consumption, activity and, for the first time, emissions end-use data for the four main final consumption sectors (residential, services, industry and transport), see the newly released 2020 edition of the IEA energy efficiency indicators database with more recent data up to 2018.
The IEA will update the energy efficiency indicators database again in December 2020, with more recent data and expanded geographical coverage, at the same time of the publication of the 2020 edition of the Energy Efficiency Indicators Highlights report.
The untapped potential of energy efficiency has also been addressed at the IEA 5th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency, this year with a focus on the role of efficiency under the global COVID-19 crisis health crisis.