Strategic Energy Technologies Information System

European Initiative on Smart Cities

Heating and Cooling in Buildings

Heating and cooling applications account for almost 50% of total final energy consumption in Europe and, although energy demand for space heating is expected to decline, energy demand for space cooling has continued to increase steadily in both the residential and services sub-sectors over the last decade. The current demand for heating is mainly covered by conventional technology using fossil fuels, while individual electric chillers meet the demand for cooling.

Consequently, there is significant potential to increase the share of energy from renewable sources in heating and cooling, in particular biomass, solar and geothermal energy, which can be used as direct sources of heat. The European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) has estimated that renewables will account for a 30% share of total EU heat consumption by 2020, and more than 50% by 2050, compared to 2010, when traditional heating technologies operating on fossil fuels accounted for nearly 72% of energy consumed for space heating.