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    Increasing size of homes eating into savings due to better energy ratings, data on gas and electricity usage shows


    September 19, 2022 - Paul Hyland and Cate McCurry

     

      Households with better energy ratings consumed less gas and electricity per square metre, new figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

      The CSO figures show that A and B rated dwellings used 42 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per square metre in 2021, compared with 79 kWh per square metre for D and for E, and 67 kWh per square metre for F and G rated dwellings.

      The mean electricity consumption last year for properties built in 2005-2021 was 48 kWh per square metre, which was around two-thirds of the figure for dwellings built in 2000-2004 of 75 kWh per square metre.

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      Mean electricity consumption decreased in 2021 compared with 2020 for apartments and mid-terrace houses but it increased for end-of-terrace houses, semi-detached houses and detached houses.

      A detached house used 8,039 kWh of electricity in 2021, which was 70pc higher than the corresponding mean electricity consumption for a mid-terrace house.

      A and B rated detached houses had an average floor area of 230 square metres compared with an average of 89 square metres for detached houses with an F or G rating.

      Two separate studies analysed electricity usage in homes where electricity was the main source of space heating; and gas usage in homes where gas was the main source of space heating. The CSO April to June 2022 quarterly Domestic BER release showed that electricity was the main space heating fuel for 82pc of dwellings built during the period 2020 to 2022 – likely meaning highly efficient heat pumps are the main source in these homes, as opposed to electric radiators or storage heaters installed in many older homes.

      The gas analysis examined households that had a Building Energy Rating (BER) and used networked gas as their main space heating fuel.

      The results showed that households with better energy ratings consumed less gas per square metre, but they were larger in terms of floor area.

      Average gas consumption per square metre in 2021 varied from 87 kWh for A and B rated dwellings; 100 kWh for C rated dwellings; 112 kWh for D rated dwellings; 118 kWh for E rated dwellings; and 120 kWh per square metre for F or G rated dwellings.

      Average electricity consumption per square metre in 2021 varied from 42 kWh for A and B rated dwellings; 75 kWh for C rated dwellings; 79 kWh for D rated dwellings; 79 kWh for E rated dwellings; and 67 kWh per square metre for F or G rated dwellings.

      The figures are well below the average gas consumption per square metre, reflecting that electricity is used less than gas as a main space heating fuel.

      The mean electricity consumption per square metre in 2021 was lower for newer dwellings.

      The mean electricity consumption was lower in 2021 than in 2020 for apartments (-3.1pc) and mid-terrace houses (-1.6pc), and higher for end-of-terrace (1.6pc), semi-detached (2.6pc), and detached houses (6.2pc).

      Average electricity consumption per dwelling varied considerably more by dwelling type than by energy efficiency rating.

      The mean electricity consumption by detached houses was 8,039 kWh in 2021. This was 70pc higher than the mean electricity consumption by mid-terrace houses of 4,740 kWh.

      The data shows that A and B rated dwellings consumed more electricity than F and G rated dwellings.

      Meanwhile, the mean gas consumption per square metre in 2021 was lower for more recently-built dwellings.

      Households constructed in 2005-2021 used 93 kWh per square metre compared with 112 kWh per square metre for dwellings built in 1900-1966.

      The mean gas consumption was lower in 2021 than in 2020 for all household types, however this may have been influenced by fewer people working from home in 2021.

      The decrease in average consumption varied from 1.5pc for detached houses to 2.7pc for semi-detached houses.

      However, the 2021 figures were all higher than the average for each dwelling type in 2019.

      Average gas consumption per dwelling varied considerably more by household type than by energy efficiency rating.

      The mean gas consumption by detached houses was 15,906 kWh in 2021.

      This was 84pc higher than the mean gas consumption by apartments of 8,664 kWh.

      Lower gas consumption due to improved energy ratings was partially offset by a larger floor area for dwellings with A and B ratings.

      Detached houses with an A or B rating had an average floor area of 194 square metres compared with 125 square metres for detached houses with an F or G rating.

      This trend of larger floor areas for more energy-efficient dwellings was evident for all household types.

      Looking at the data, A and B rated dwellings consumed more gas than F and G rated dwellings.

      CSO statistician Dympna Corry said: "Looking at the data, A and B rated dwellings consumed more electricity than F and G rated dwellings. In 2021, A and B rated dwellings used a mean electricity consumption of 5,945 kWh compared with 5,709 kWh for C rated dwellings, 5,633 kWh for D rated dwellings, 5,336 kWh for E rated dwellings, and 4,378 kWh for F and G rated dwellings.

      “F and G energy-rated dwellings had the lowest mean electricity consumption figure in 2021 indicating that factors other than energy ratings - such as disposable income, whether the house was adequately heated, and use of secondary heating fuels - may have had an impact."

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