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Detached houses use 82% more gas for heating than apartments, CSO finds

The report found that homes with better energy ratings consume more gas than lower-rated dwellings.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

WITH FEARS OF gas shortages looming over Europe a new report has found that detached houses use 82% more natural gas for heating than apartments.

Fresh data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) shows that average gas consumption per dwelling varies considerably more based on household type than by energy efficiency rating.

Based on the stats from 2020, the mean gas consumption of a detached house was 16,054 kWh. This was more that four-fifths higher than an apartment’s mean gas consumption, which stood at 8,808 kWh.

Dwellings with ‘A’ and ‘B’ BER ratings – meaning they are more energy efficient– were found to actually consume more gas than ‘F’ and ‘G’ dwellings, which had the lowest gas consumption.

The CSO said this indicated that other factors were influencing gas consumption, including disposable income and the use of other heating fuels.

It added that the better rated homes also had larger floor areas, which partially offset the improved efficiency of their heating systems.

Detached houses with an ‘A’ or ‘B’ rating had an average floor area of 194 square metres while the average floor area for detached houses with an ‘F’ or ‘G’ rating was 124 square metres.

The trend of more energy-efficient dwellings having larger floor areas was evident across all household types.

‘A’ and ‘B’ rated dwellings had a mean gas consumption of 11,483 kWh. For ‘C’ rated dwellings the average was 11,146 kWh, it came in at 11,475 kWh for ‘D’ dwellings, 11,767 kWh for those in the ‘E’ category and it was 10,965 kWh for ‘F’ and ‘G’ rated homes.

figure-1-mean-gas-consum Mean gas consumption by dwelling type and energy rating. Source: Central Statistics Office.

Unsurprisingly homes with a better energy rating consumed less gas per square metre than those with a worse rating.

‘A’ and ‘B’ rated homes consumed an average of 89 kWh per square metre. Homes with an ‘F’ or ‘G’ rating had an average consumption of 122 kWh per square metre.

The report was created by the CSO using data on networked gas consumption and domestic building energy ratings. It is the first time the CSO has combined these two datasets.

The analysis was carried out on data from 2020 when gas consumption across all household types was higher than 2019, likely due to people spending more time at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Europe is in the grip of an energy crisis as the Kremlin has dramatically slashed the delivery of Russian gas in response to western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.

The European Commission last month announced an emergency plan, urging EU countries to reduce their demand for natural gas by 15% over the summer to secure winter stocks and defeat Russia’s “blackmail”.

At the time, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that Ireland was not reliant on Russian gas but that there was a need to stockpile to prevent a price hike.

Energy expert Don Moore –former managing director of ESB International – told RTÉ this week that Ireland is the “least prepared” country in Europe for a winter gas shortage.

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Céimin Burke

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