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Key questions

  • What has been the overall trend in final energy consumption in the EU since 2000?
  • What are the main drivers of final energy consumption variation over time?
  • What are the trends in energy efficiency at a country level?

Lead authors: Carine Sebi and Bruno Lapillonne (Enerdata)
Reviewers: Branko Vuk, Damir Pešut, Alenka K. Lončarević, Vesna Bukarica (Energy Institute Hrvoje Požar, Croatia)

Industry reduces its share of final energy consumption

In 2014, EU final energy consumption was close to 1 100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: EU final energy consumption (normal climate)

EU final energy consumption

Source: Odyssee

There are three main energy consumption sectors. Transport, as the largest, recorded a 2 percentage points increase in its share of total EU final energy consumption – 30 % in 2000 to 32 % in 2014. Over the same period, the residential sector kept a steady share around 27 %, while industry decreased its share by 4 percentage points – down to 25 %. The building sector, comprising residential and services sectors, accounted for 40% in 2014. Agriculture represents a marginal share.

Reduction in final energy consumption since 2008

The final energy consumption in 2014 was slightly below the 2000 level (-5 %). This is the result of contrasted trends in two periods:

  • An annual increase of 0.4 % between 2000 and 2008.
  • An annual reduction of 1.5 % since the economic crisis that has had a significant impact on the final energy consumption (Figure 2). The effect of the crisis was most noticeable in industry, while services were the least affected.

Figure 2: EU final energy trends by sector

EU final energy trends by sector

Source: Odyssee, normal climate

Overall energy efficiency progress

At the EU level, energy efficiency for final consumers, as measured by ODEX1, improved by an average of 1.3 % per year from 2000 to 2014 or 17 % over the period (Figure 3). In industry, the pace of energy efficiency improvements has been halved since the economic crisis (1.1 % per year since 2008, compared with around 2.2 % per year between 2000 and 2008). In the residential sector, despite the economic crisis, there has been steady progress and larger gains than in the other sectors (1.8 % per year). This trend can be explained by the introduction of the many regulations affecting buildings and appliances. The efficiency in the transport sector is steadily increasing by 1 % per year, mainly thanks to cars, as efficiency gains slowed down for other modes2. In services, because of a lack of end-use data, only part of the energy efficiency improvements can be measured with the available indicators3.

Figure 3: Energy efficiency index for final consumers (EU)

Energy efficiency index for final consumers

Source: Odyssee; air transport included

Around 226 Mtoe of energy savings in 2014

Energy efficiency improvements led to significant energy savings estimated to be 226 Mtoe in 2014 compared with 2000 (Figure 4). These savings represent the sum of the additional annual energy savings by sectors and are equivalent to 17 % of final energy consumption (Figure 5). In other words, without these energy efficiency improvements since 2000, the final energy consumption would have been 17 % higher in 2014. The dip in the trend for total annual savings in 2008–2009, which can be seen in Figure 4, is again explained by the negative impact of the economic crisis that slowed down investments in energy efficiency (e.g. sales of efficient equipment reduce or there is a slowdown in stock renewal).

Figure 4: Energy savings in 2014 compared with 2000 and related final consumption by sector (EU)

Energy savings in 2014

Source: Odyssee; air transport included

Most of the savings were in the residential sector (40 % of total EU savings) (Figure 4). This is quite impressive in relation to its share of final energy consumption, which is 14 percentage points lower. As a result, savings represented 24 % of total residential consumption in 2014 (Figure 5). The other sectors contributing significantly to EU energy savings are industry (27%) and transport (21%).

Figure 5: Sectoral energy savings as a percentage of their energy consumption

Sectoral energy savings

Source: Odyssee; air transport included

Figure 6: Share of country final energy consumption in total EU consumption (x axis) and share of country energy savings in total EU savings (between 2000 and 2014 (y axis))

Share of country final energy consumption and country energy savings

Source: Odyssee

Since 2000, efforts to improve energy efficiency have varied across EU Member States

In some countries, the energy savings were above 30% (e.g. Slovakia, Bulgaria, Greece and Latvia). As a result, their participation in total EU energy savings is proportionally higher than their relative share in total EU final energy consumption. In Figure 6, this group of countries is marked in green. The more a country moves away from the yellow zone to the green zone, the greater are the efforts in terms of energy efficiency. Conversely, in countries like Italy, Austria, France and Denmark, the share of their savings is below 15%, Therefore, their participation in total EU energy savings is less significant relative to their size. Countries in the yellow zone have energy savings relatively proportional to their consumption. This demonstrates that the new EU Member States (e.g. Slovakia, Bulgaria or Latvia) made great efforts in terms of energy savings from 2000, while long-standing Member States (e.g. Italy and France) realised higher savings before 2000 and have recorded a slowdown since then.

Energy savings are partially offset by activity, demography and lifestyle effects

To allow for an easy analysis of the driving factors behind the energy consumption trend, the Odyssee-Mure project developed a decomposition tool4 separating the impacts of the main drivers on the energy consumption variation into several effects:

  • an activity effect – due to the variation in the economic activity, measured by the value added in industry, the number of employees in services, and the traffic of passengers and goods in transport;
  • a demographic effect – linked to the increase in the number of households;
  • a lifestyle effect – due to an increase in household equipment ownership and to larger homes;
  • a structural effect – due to a change in the structure of the value added in industry among the various branches and to a modal shift in transport;
  • energy savings – linked to energy efficiency improvements (as presented above);
  • climate effect – linked to temperature variation;
  • a residual effect – ‘other’.

The final energy consumption was 71 Mtoe lower in 2014 than in 2000 (Figure 7). This is the result of opposite trends. On the one hand, three main factors contributed to increase energy consumption over the period – economic activity (by 64 Mtoe), and demography and lifestyles (by around 40 Mtoe each). Energy savings (229 Mtoe) more than offset the effect of these drivers of consumption growth and explain the observed decrease in the final energy consumption.

Figure 7: Drivers of final energy consumption variation at an EU level between 2000 and 2014

Drivers of final energy consumption variation

Source: Odyssee; air transport included; * climate corrected

To assess the level and progress at country level, the Odyssee-Mure project developed an energy efficiency indicators scoreboard5 that normalises and averages indicator scores at a sectoral level in terms of trends and level. The total score is then calculated from the scores by sectors with a weight representative of the share of the sector in the country’s final energy consumption. Figure 8 shows the score and ranking of the 10 best performing countries in 2014. The tool enables the ranking by indicator for all countries to be seen.

Figure 8: The ranking of the 10 best performing countries in the EU for overall sectors

Ranking best performing countries in EU for overall sectors


  • 1: ODEX is the index used in the Odyssee-Mure project to measure the energy efficiency progress by main sector (industry, transport, households) and for the whole economy (all final consumers). For each sector, the index is calculated as a weighted average of sub-sectoral indices of energy efficiency progress; sub-sectors being industrial or service sector branches or end-uses for households or transport modes. ODEX represents a better proxy for assessing energy efficiency trends at an aggregate level (e.g. overall economy, industry, households, transport, services) compared with traditional energy intensities as they as they do not include structural changes or other factors that are not related to energy efficiency (more appliances, more cars…).
  • 2: More information available in the policy brief "Energy efficiency trends in transport in the EU".
  • 3: This is especially true for electricity where the uptake of more efficient appliances has been offset by an increased use of air-conditioning and information and communications technologies.
  • 4:
  • 5: