Although households in the EU states account for a “small” quarter of the total final energy consumption, their importance in the nations’ energy policies is enormous. For example, space and water heating are the main energy consumption sectors in the states; although renewables are becoming vital as well. The Baltic States have to take into consideration energy issues in the households’ policies to make them sustainable.
Most of the energy consumed in households is natural gas (about 37%) and electricity (24,4%). Renewables counted for about 16% of energy consumption, petroleum products for about 12% and derived heat for 7.8%; a small proportion -3, 3% is still covered by solid fuels.
Actual figures among the member states are varied. Thus, for example, gas made up more than half of the final consumption energy of households in such states as the Netherlands (72%), the United Kingdom (63%), Italy and Slovakia (both 53%). On the other hand, Malta (70%) and Sweden (51%) mainly used electricity.
The highest share of solid fuels in final consumption of energy in households was recorded in Poland (33%), while Ireland (38%), Cyprus (37%), Greece (30%) and Belgium (29%) used the highest proportions of petroleum products.
Renewable energies (mostly solid biofuels) made up at least 40% of the households’ final energy consumption in Eastern European states: in Croatia (47%), Slovenia (46%), in Estonia (41%) and in Romania (40%).
Energy for heating
The main use of energy by households in the EU states is for heating their homes – about 65% of final energy consumption in the residential sector. Electricity used for lighting and most electrical appliances represents about 14 %; 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 14.5 %. Main cooking devices require 5.4 % of the energy used by households, while space cooling and other end-uses cover 0.3 % and 1.3 % respectively. Heating of space and water consequently represents 79.2 % of the final energy consumed by households.
The lowest proportions of energy used for space heating are observed in Malta (16.0 %), Portugal (21.1 %), Spain (43.3 %) and Bulgaria (54.0 %), and the highest in Luxembourg (79.9 %), Hungary (74.0 %), Belgium (73.3 %) and Lithuania (70.8 %).
Households mainly used energy for heating their homes: this represented around two-thirds (64.7%) of their final energy consumption. In addition, the energy used for water heating accounted for 14.5%, meaning that overall, the heating of space and water accounted for 79.2% of the final energy consumed by households. Energy used for lighting and the use of most electrical appliances accounted for 13.8% of the energy used by households, while the main cooking appliances represented 5.4%, air conditioning 0.3% and other end-uses 1.3%.
Most of the energy products are almost exclusively used for space and water heating (from 94.1 % of oil products to 100 % of derived heat); only electricity has a wider use (56.6 % for lighting, 26.3 % for heating space and water, 11.0 % for cooking and 1.1 % for cooling).
Eleven EU states use mainly renewable energies for heating their homes, with Portugal (72.2 %), Croatia (65.2 %) and Slovenia (59.8 %) 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 (7 EU states), most of them are among the largest energy consumers of the EU: the Netherlands (87.2 %), the United Kingdom (76.0 %) and Italy (60.6 %) are the states where the proportion of gas used for space heating is the highest. Three EU states use mainly petroleum products for space heating: Malta (56.9 %), Greece (50.3 %) and Ireland (47.2 %) and two states mostly rely on derived heat – Sweden (49.0 %) and Finland (34.5 %). Finally, one state, Poland uses mainly solid fuels for space heating (45.2 %).
Derived heat is widely used for water heating in 6 EU states, particularly in Denmark (62.6 %), Finland (59.2 %) and Lithuania (53.9 %); most of the biggest energy consuming countries mainly use gas (90% in the Netherlands, 80 % in the United Kingdom and 65.5 % in Italy, while electricity -53.0 % in France. Electricity is also massively used for this purpose in Malta (79.0 %), Bulgaria (57.4 %), Greece (52.0 %) and Croatia (46.7 %). Portugal and Ireland use mainly petroleum products (respectively 44.4 % and 43.3 %), while Slovenia (41.9 %) uses renewables.
Electricity and gas roles
Electricity logically covers 100 % of the energy needs for lighting and space cooling in the EU but also 94 % of the other end-uses and 49.2 % for cooking.
Gas plays an essential role in terms of space and water heating (respectively 43.4 % and 47.9 % of the energy consumed for these end-uses) and in cooking (33.1 %). Renewables cover 22.2 % of the energy needs for space heating, 9.6 % for water heating and 4.2 % for cooking.
Derived heat plays an important role only in water heating (11.1 %) and in space heating (9.2 %), while oil products still cover 14.8 % of space heating energy use, 12.8 % of cooking and 10.4 % of water heating.
Cooking is generally based on the use of electricity in 14 EU states and gas in 9 states, with Malta using petroleum products (92.5 %) for that purpose (see Table below). In Latvia, e.g. gas covers 38,5% of cooking needs (as well as in Lithuania -38,5%) and only 16,4% by electricity, though the country is having plenty of energy resources; in Lithuania – by 17,6%.
Derived heat is widely used for water heating in 6 EU states, particularly in Denmark (62.6 %), Finland (59.2 %) and Lithuania (53.9 %); however, most of the biggest energy consuming countries mainly use gas (with about 90% in the Netherlands, 80 % in the United Kingdom and 65.5 % in Italy) and electricity (53.0 % in France).
Electricity is also massively used for this purpose in Malta (79.0 %), Bulgaria (57.4 %), Greece (52.0 %) and Croatia (46.7 %). Portugal and Ireland use mainly petroleum products (respectively 44.4 % and 43.3 %), while Slovenia (41.9 %) uses renewables.