In 2020 the residential sector was responsible for 12.3% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions




Current trends

  • Greenhouse gas emissions increased by 9.0% in 2020  
  • Increase in all fuels, except natural gas, used for household space and water heating


  • 2020 was a colder year than 2019 and had more heating days
  • Increase in use of coal, peat and oil in 2020. Increased kerosene use driven by exceptionally low prices in early 2020 and working from home as a result of COVID restrictions. 


  • Emissions projected to decrease by 45% by 2030 under the WAM scenario if all the measures in the Climate Action Plan 2019 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 increased by 9.0% or 0.59 Mt of CO2eq in 2020 compared to 2019 emissions. All fuels used in household space and water heating, except natural gas, showed increases in 2020; coal (6.0%), peat (3.2%), kerosene (14.8%) and biomass (1.8%). A slight decrease in natural gas use was seen (-0.3%). Low kerosene prices in early 2020 may have contributed to increases in use for heating. 2020 was a comparatively colder winter with a higher heating demand than that of 2019.

A gradual upward trend in the emissions from the residential sector after 1998 was driven by an increase in housing stock, emissions reached a peak in 2010. The 2020 emissions in this sector are 5.3% lower than their 1990 level whereas the housing stock has increased by 78.7% in the same period. Winter heating demand is the most important variable determining emissions from this sector. 2020 was a colder year than 2019 and residential consumption of fuels increased. This indicates a need to improve the energy efficiency of homes in Ireland as well as the influence of fuel prices on choices of fuel for heating.

Under the With Existing Measures scenario, emissions from the residential sector are projected to decrease by 24.1% between 2021 and 2030 to 5.2 Mt CO2 eq

Emissions are projected to decrease by 45.4% between 2021 and 2030 to 3.8 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.

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