Schneider Electric’s white paper Making Permanent savings through Active Energy Efficiency reports that the residential sector accounts for 8% of energy use, without the consideration of the power generation sector. Combustibles and electricity each account for roughly 50% of energy use. Space heating, lighting and water heating are major energy users.The residential sector is comprised of private home owners or tenants, builders, architects and developers and public and residential social housing. All these have different ownership and responsibility for energy efficiency technologies.
As is the case with the industrial sector, high electric and gas prices have created an incentive for households to alter their behaviour and consider energy efficient technologies. In the EU, prices for both have been rising over the past five years, with the exception of a dip during the economic downturn.
In the US, heating, lighting and then cooling are the largest sources of energy demand. In other countries, this distribution may be different depending upon local climatic conditions, but lighting and heating/cooling are likely to be major sources of demand. Thus, energy efficiency in the residential sector is focused on heating, the main source of energy consumption, and lighting. Specifically, efficiency is channelled through energy-efficient white goods, lighting and smart-home solutions and insulation and through reducing phantom or vampire power – the power a device is using when it is turned off, for example on standby mode. By 2020 it is expected that heating, lighting, cooling, refrigeration and also computers account for less of the total energy consumption in households, with this trend continuing to 2030.