Europe’s energy crisis in data: Which countries have the best and worst insulated houses? | Popgen Tech


As cold weather grips Europe, many people are deeply concerned about their heating bills.

Energy prices have soared following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the European Commission has called on countries to prioritize insulating buildings this winter.

But not all citizens feel the cold – or the pinch of energy bills – the same. Recently research shows that house temperature losses vary significantly across Europe.

These differences depend on the quality of building insulation, such as outside temperatures was standardized at 0 °C for all countries analyzed.

Which country has the worst insulation?

House temperature losses are highest in the UKwhich has the oldest housing stock: 37 percent of homes in the UK were built before 1946.

The intelligent home climate management company tado° examined 80,000 homes in 11 European countries between December 2019 and January 2020 to reach this conclusion.

It found that a house in the UK with an indoor temperature of 20 °C and outdoor temperature of 0 °C loses an average of 3 °C after five hours.

Which country has the best insulation?

Norway with 0.9 °C and Germany with 1 °C are the countries with the lowest house temperature losses.

This means that British homes lose heat three times faster than homes in Norway and Germany.

The UK is followed by Belgium (2.9 °C), France (2.5 °C), the Netherlands (2.4 °C) and Spain (2.2 °C). Heat loss is higher in these five countries than the average loss (1.8 °C) of all evaluated countries.

Sweden, Denmark and Austria all have an average house temperature loss of 1.2 °C. In Italy this value is 1.5 °C.

Energy costs are more than double for old houses

How old a house is has a big influence on its heat loss – as well as a range of other energy efficiency measures.

In the United Kingdom, research by the Office of National Statistics – based on Energy Performance Certificates – show that energy costs for older homes are more than double those of newer ones.

To put this into perspective: in England in 2019, the average estimated energy cost per year for an older home was £885 (€1,028), compared to just £399 (€463) for a newer home.

Climate Campaign Group Isolate Britain is not the only one calling for Britain to be isolated. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) advocated mass insulation of England’s interwar suburbs.

“In a very large proportion of these, no changes have been made to the walls since construction, meaning they have no insulation,” an RIBA report said. It has been calculated that proper insulation, double or triple glazing and replacement of gas boilers in 3.3 million interwar homes could reduce the country’s carbon emissions by four per cent.

Most houses were built before the first thermal regulations

According to the EU Building Stock Observatory, most residential buildings in the EU were built before the first thermal standards were introduced in the 1970s. These energy efficiency measures were introduced after the oil crises caused by war and political unrest in the Middle East.

In general, the greater the share of new residential buildings, the higher will be the overall energy performance of the building stock.

In the EU, 23 percent of homes were built before 1945, and 26 percent were built between 1945 and 1969, according to 2014 figures. This means 49 percent of homes were built before 1970. Only 23 percent were built after 1990.

Which European countries have the oldest houses?

Looking at the share of homes built before 1945, the UK tops the list with 36.5 per cent, followed by Belgium (33.9 per cent) and Denmark (31.9 per cent).

Cyprus has the lowest share of houses built before 1945 at only 3 percent. In Greece it is 7.3 percent, followed by Romania (11.1 percent). In 13 EU countries, the share of houses built before 1945 is more than 20 percent.

The United Kingdom also tops the list for homes built before 1970, at 62 percent. Sweden (60.5 percent), Germany (59.4 percent) and Lithuania (59.1 percent), closely follow the UK. This figure is also high in Denmark (58.9 percent) and Belgium (58.5 percent).

There are only six countries in which less than one third of houses were built before 1970. These are Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Malta and Finland.

Which European countries have the youngest houses?

The share of houses built between 1990 and 2014 is the highest in Cyprus. More than half of the houses (54.2 percent) on this island were built after 1990. It is followed by Ireland (45.2 percent) and Luxembourg (41.6 percent).

Lithuania, Slovakia and Latvia have the lowest shares of houses built after 1990 at less than 13 percent. In the EU, as of 2014, 22.6 percent of homes were built after 1990.

REPowerEU plan: What does the EU propose?

Improving the energy efficiency of housing stock has become increasingly critical in many countries in the face of sharply rising energy prices.

The European Commission has the REPowerEU plan to save energy, produce clean energy and diversify energy supplies. The plan also emphasizes the importance of building insulation.

“The most immediate savings can be delivered by better insulating high-temperature equipment,” it says. Why? Because these measures have extremely short payback times.

The Commission therefore calls on Member States to make full use of supporting measures such as reduced VAT rates for high-efficiency heating systems and insulation in buildings.


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