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New Energy World
New Energy World embraces the whole energy industry as it connects and converges to address the decarbonisation challenge. It covers progress being made across the industry, from the dynamics under way to reduce emissions in oil and gas, through improvements to the efficiency of energy conversion and use, to cutting-edge initiatives in renewable and low carbon technologies.
Need to heat buildings down by a fifth since 1979
The need to heat a given building has decreased considerably in the European Union (EU) over the past four decades, according to new analysis from Eurostat, with the heating degree days (HDD) value falling by 19% between 1979 (3,510 degree days) and 2022 (2,858). In other words, only 81% of the heating needs were required in 2022 compared with 1979.
In contrast, the cooling degree days (CDD) value was almost four times higher in 2022 (140) than in 1979 (37), indicating that the need for cooling (air conditioning) has significantly increased over the same period.
HDD and CDD are weather-based technical indexes designed to describe the energy requirements of buildings in terms of heating or cooling. However, HDD and CDD alone should not be used as a proxy for energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions, says Eurostat. These also depend on other factors, such as the location and orientation of the building, design, insulation, usage, as well as the heating/cooling system and type of energy that is used (eg fossil fuels or renewable energy).
The analysis shows that degree days vary considerably across the EU member states. In 2022, Finland recorded the highest annual HDD value (5,277), in contrast to the lowest value observed in Malta (544). This means that for a given building, the need for heating was almost 10 times higher in Finland than in Malta. For annual HDD, Finland was closely followed by Sweden (4,919), ahead of Estonia (4,118), Latvia (4,026) and Lithuania (3,773).
In 2022, the EU members with the lowest number of annual HDD were Malta (544) as mentioned above, Cyprus (696), Portugal (968), Spain (1,478) and Greece (1,538).
Among EU regions, Norrbottens län in Sweden had the highest annual average of HDD value (6,647) for all available data spanning across 43 years, while the lowest value was observed in Fuerteventura in Spain (17). Norrbottens län was followed by Lappi in Finland (6,640) and Västerbottens län in Sweden (6,077).
On the other hand, the lowest values which followed Fuerteventura were also in Spain: La Gomera (38), Lanzarote (53), Gran Canaria (150) and La Palma (250).
In the EU, in 2022, for annual CDD, the highest values at a national level were in Malta (842), followed by Cyprus (698), Spain (384), Italy (375) and Greece (372). The lowest values were recorded in Ireland (0.03 CDD), Sweden (1.6), Finland (2.5), Denmark (3.4) and Latvia (13.6).