Heat is the largest energy end‑use. Providing heating for homes, industry and other applications accounts for around half of total energy consumption.

Heating Jpg

Key findings

Direct CO2 emissions from buildings-related heating by fuel in the Net Zero Scenario, 2010-2030


Direct CO2 emissions from space and water heating in buildings reached an all-time high of 2.5 Gt in 2021

In 2021 direct emissions from heating buildings grew by 5.5%, reaching a new high of 2 500 Mt CO2, 80% of direct CO2 emissions in the buildings sector. Despite this increase, CO2 emissions from energy use for heating are only 1.5% above 2010 levels. Improvements are largely thanks to the implementation of more stringent building energy codes, as well as shifts away from the most inefficient fossil fuel boilers and greater use of heat pumps and renewable heating equipment in the stock.

Aligning with the Net Zero Scenario milestones would, however, require a rapid acceleration of the rate of improvement, with the CO2 intensity of heated dwellings falling by around 10% per year to 2030 in the scenario, compared with 2% per year between 2000 and 2021. The technologies needed to achieve these reductions are available and mature today, and in many markets are cost-effective.

Renewable and non-renewable heat consumption and heat-related CO2 emissions in buildings, 2010-2020


But global modern renewable heating consumption falls short to contain non-renewable heating

Global modern renewable heat consumption is expected to increase at a faster rate than heat demand, expanding by a quarter (an increase of 5.4 EJ) in the next five years, with the majority of the growth occurring in the buildings sector. While the share of modern uses of renewables rises from 11% in 2020 to 13% in 2026, these investments fall short of containing non-renewable heat consumption. Fossil fuel consumption for heat is forecast to see a 5% increase in heat-related CO2 emissions over the outlook period, equivalent to 0.6 Gt CO2.

For comparison, to align with the IEA Net Zero Emissions Scenario, renewable heat consumption would have to progress 2.5 times faster, combined with wide-scale behavioural change and much larger energy and material efficiency improvements in both buildings and industry.
Our work

The DHC TCP conducts research and development as well as policy analysis and international co-operation to increase the market penetration of district heating and cooling systems with low environmental impact.

The HPT TCP functions as an international framework of co-operation and knowledge exchange for the different stakeholders in the field of heat pumping technologies used for heating, cooling, air-conditioning and refrigeration in buildings, industries, thermal grids and other applications. The mission of the HPT TCP is to accelerate the transformation to an efficient, renewable, clean and secure energy sector in its member countries and beyond through collaboration research, demonstration and data collection and through enabling innovations and deployment in the area of heat pumping technologies.

Through multi-disciplinary international collaborative research and knowledge exchange, as well as market and policy recommendations, the SHC TCP works to increase the deployment rate of solar heating and cooling systems by breaking down the technical and non-technical barriers to increase deployment.

The mission of the Energy Storage TCP is to facilitate research, development, implementation and integration of energy storage technologies to optimise the energy efficiency of all kinds of energy systems and enable the increasing use of renewable energy. Storage technologies are a central component in energy-efficient and sustainable energy systems. Energy storage is a cross-cutting issue that relies on expert knowledge of many disciplines. The Energy Storage TCP fosters widespread experience, synergies and cross-disciplinary co-ordination of working plans and research goals.