Open Access dataset provides figures and analyses of the demand for heating and cooling in the EU

The consortium of the EU project “Heat Roadmap Europe 4” is providing publicly accessible comprehensive data on the demand for heating and cooling in the EU. The free dataset features figures and analyses for all 28 countries. This can be used as a basis to further develop the EU’s heating and cooling strategy among other things.

The dataset recently published as part of the EU project “Heat Roadmap Europe 4” (HRE4) shows: Roughly 50 percent of the European Union’s final energy consumption is needed to supply heating and cooling. The largest part of this is used for space heating and industrial processes. The use of renewable energies is increasing only slowly in the majority of the 28 EU member states and is currently less than 20 percent on average. Heat, in particular, is still being produced using fossil energy sources like natural gas, oil and coal.

So far, such statements had to be based on individual studies compiled using different methods and definitions. The HRE4 dataset bridges this research gap: The data are collected using uniform methods and portray a complete picture of the EU’s demand for heating and cooling, and enable comparisons between member states.

HRE4 dataset makes it easier to compare EU countries

Dr. Tobias Fleiter, project coordinator at Fraunhofer ISI, emphasizes: “Being able to compare countries is the greatest additional benefit of the HRE4 dataset compared to previous national data collections. Consistent figures with high resolution make it easier to compare the structures of individual EU countries. This basis enables the EU to take better account of the differences in individual member states’ starting situations when designing the European heating and cooling transition”.

The HRE4 dataset is not only disaggregated by country but also by sector (industry, households and service). The detailed figures illustrate which processes, sectors and value chains in the EU require particularly large amounts of heating or cooling and which energy sources the individual countries use to meet this demand.

The most important energy sources for heating and cooling in Germany: natural gas and oil  

In Germany, for example, 56 percent of the final energy consumption are used for heating and cooling. 87 percent of this are needed just for space heating and industrial processes and only two percent for cooling. The most important energy sources are natural gas (42 percent) and oil (22 percent); the only renewable energy source worth mentioning is biomass (8 percent). Solar energy and ambient heat are still under one percent.

A mixed picture results for the member states. While the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, for example, are heavily dependent on natural gas which supplies more than 60 percent of heating, Sweden and Finland hardly rely on this energy source at all and have shares of less than 10 percent; these countries have very high shares of district heat and biomass.

The dataset, which is provided as a free open access file, can be used to develop and/or to adapt political and economic strategies at both EU level and in individual member states – in particular, the EU’s heating and cooling strategy published in 2016, for which Fraunhofer ISI, among others, provided data.


The “Heat Roadmap Europe 4” (HRE4) project is coordinated by Aalborg University and funded under the Horizon 2020 programme. The project consortium is modelling the energy systems of the 14 largest EU countries. The objective is to develop strategies to decarbonize EU energy demand for heating and cooling. Alongside technical feasibility, economic efficiency and sustainability also play an important role here. The recently published dataset is based on a cooperation between the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI, Utrecht University, Armines, and TEP Energy.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.

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