Residential

Note: These pages present provisional 1990-2021 Inventory data using global warming potentials (GWP) from the IPCC's 5th Assessment Report (AR5) (updated July 2022) and the EPA's latest 2021-2030 projections estimates (updated June 2022) using global warming potentials (GWP) from the IPCC's 4th Assessment Report (AR4).

In 2021 the residential sector was responsible for 11.4% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions

 

Highlights

Current trends

  • Greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 4.9% in 2021 
  • Decrease in all fuels except natural gas, used for household space and water heating  

Cause

  • Reduced homeworking due to lifting of covid restrictions 
  • Increased fuel prices in 2021 and possible stockpiling in 2020 due to exceptionally low prices 
  • 2.5% less heating degree days in 2021  

Outlook

  • Emissions projected to decrease by 43.8% by 2030 under the WAM scenario if all the measures in the Climate Action Plan are fully implemented. This includes upgrades to homes, deep retrofits and supports for domestic heat pumps

 

Residential sector

This sector accounts for all emissions from fuel combustion in households for domestic space and hot water heating. Emissions in the Residential sector are 7.04 Mt CO2eq in 2021 and decreased by 4.9% or 0.36 Mt CO2eq since 2020. Within the different fuels used in household space and water heating, decreases were seen in; coal, peat and kerosene by 4.6%, 5.0% and 11.8% respectively. Natural gas and heating oil however increased by 0.9% and 4.6% respectively in 2021.

There were 2.5% less heating degree days2 in 2021 than in 2020. Fuel switching, from coal and peat to oil and natural gas use, as well as improvements in buildings regulations helped reduced emissions per household from 7.0 t/CO2 per year in 1990 to a low of 3.5 t/CO2 per year in 2014. Since 2014, fuel use per household has increased by 12% with CO2 emissions per household increasing to 3.8 t CO2 in 2021. 

Increased housing stock and a growing population drove the gradual upward trend in the emissions from the Residential sector after 1997 following emission reductions in the early 1990s due to fuel switching, from coal and peat to oil and natural gas, to reach a peak in 2010. The 2021 emissions in this sector are 4.9% lower than 2020 levels and are 7.0% lower than their 1990 level, whereas the housing stock increased by 79.5% and population by 42.9% between 1990 and 2021. Winter heating demand is the most important annual variable in emissions from this sector.  

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Projected emissions

(Latest update June 2022)

Under the With Existing Measures scenario, emissions from the residential sector are projected to decrease by 27.2% between 2020 and 2030 to 5.2 Mt CO2 eq.

Emissions are projected to decrease by 43.8% between 2020 and 2030 to 4.0 Mt CO2 eq under the With Additional Measures scenario (shown as the line in the graph below). This scenario assumes full implementation of the measures in Ireland’s Climate Action Plan that includes upgrades to homes, deep retrofit and significant supports for domestic heat pumps.