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Ireland, Energy in the Residential Sector: 2013 Report

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Date: September 2013

This report provides a profile and analysis of Irish energy use in the residential sector, updated from the Energy in the Residential Sector – 2008 Report. It broadly follows the format of the previous report but also introduces new information from additional data sources developed since the previous report was published, such as the Building Energy Rating (BER) database and the findings of a national Smart Metering Trial. The 2008 report examined energy consumption in the residential sector to 2006. The most up-to-date residential energy data in this report is for 2011, and a particular focus of this report is on trends in the five year period from 2006 to 2011. In addition to examining overall residential sector energy usage and CO2 emissions trends, this report presents an updated profile of the housing stock using new data from the 2011 Census and the 2009/2010 Household Budget Survey. New indicators of energy efficiency have been added, as well as forecasts of residential sector energy use to 2020. The report also points to key data gaps and suggests areas for further study and development. The residential sector accounted for just over a quarter (27%) of all energy used in Ireland in 2011 and after transport it was the second largest energy using sector. It was responsible for 27% (10,479 kt CO2) of energy-related CO2 emissions in 2011.

Energy use in the sector includes energy for heating, hot water, cooking, cleaning, washing, drying, lighting, cooling and entertainment. The sector has experienced rapid growth in the past two decades, with the number of permanently occupied dwellings increasing by 64% (2.4% per annum) over the period 1990 to 2011 to reach 1.65 million. As a result, there has been a recognised need by policy makers to implement programmes and measures that reduce the sector’s demand for energy and a purpose of this report is to provide context and background to discussions regarding future policy options. This report is intended to be a further step in an ongoing process of developing and improving energy statistics in the residential sector and is structured as follows:

  • The relevant trends in energy usage and CO2 emissions are outlined in section 2, and provide a context for the subsequent analyses of energy use in the sector.
  • Section 3 details Government targets which relating to the residential sector and summarises the policy measures and programmes that have been introduced to meet these targets.
  • Section 4 profiles the residential sector and analyses the underlying factors influencing its energy usage.
  • Section 5 examines energy intensity and energy efficiency trends.
  • In section 6 trends in Ireland’s residential sector are compared with trends internationally.

Finally, section 7 examines new datasets which have become available since the 2008 report or will become available in the near future which can contribute to or facilitate more detailed analysis of residential energy consumption. Key data gaps in the residential sector are also identified in the discussion. The energy balance data presented in this report are from the national energy balance published by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) on 5th October 2012. The most up-to-date balance figures are available in the statistics publications section of the SEAI website.