Analysis of the European Building Stock

An analysis published by the European Commission funded iNSPIRe EU Research Project provides a detailed picture of the energy demands of residential and office buildings. It also identifies suitable target building types for renovation. The objective of iNSPIRe is to tackle the problem of high-energy consumption by producing systematic renovation packages that can be applied to residential and tertiary buildings. The renovation packages developed aim to reduce the primary energy consumption of a building to lower than 50 kWH/m2/year. The study is a rich source of information on national and European building stock.

In particular the study provides interesting data about the EU-27 residential stock and its energy use. In general the level of owner-occupation across the EU is high. In Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania it is higher than 90% and in most (17) countries it is higher than 70%. Over half the residential stock in the EU was built before 1970 which is significant because, in terms of targeting fabric retrofit measures, older dwellings offer more potential for improvement.

The main conclusions of the study are:

• Residential and office space is concentrated in the “big six” countries of France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. These six countries account for 72% of residential and 71% of office floor area in the EU.
• In the residential sector across the EU, single family houses represent the majority of the heated floor area at 60%. This means that to be effective across the whole residential stock, retrofit solutions need to be designed to accommodate both single and multi-family houses.
• Total heating energy consumption across residential and office sectors is 2299Twh/year and 159TWh/year respectively, giving a ratio of 14:1. This underlines the importance of the residential sector in energy-reduction retrofit.

There remains untapped potential for energy savings in the building sector and detailed information is useful for the provision of targeted action. The study is available here.