The overall aim of sEEnergies is to quantify and operationalise the potentials for energy efficiency (EE) in buildings, transport and industry, combining this bottom-up knowledge with temporal and spatial analyses to develop an innovative, holistic and research-based EE-modelling approach going beyond current state-of-the-art science based knowledge and methodologies.

Changes in one energy sector can contribute to impacts in another sector, so it is only possible to have a comprehensive assessment and quantification of the EEFP policies impacts if we look at the energy systems from a holistic perspective and take into consideration the synergies between sectors.

Bottom-up sectorial approach and grid assessment, together with energy system modelling and spatial analytics is combined in the novel EE modelling approach.

sEEnergies comprises a combination of in-depth knowledge on the consumption side and in-depth analyses of the energy systems that enable a detailed scientifically based pool of knowledge needed to make EE potentials concrete and operational, and as a resource on its own.

Embedded in the applied project methodology is the identification of synergies across the supply chain and towards additional impacts not directly linked to the energy system. This nonenergy impacts can be very important benefits that are often invisible but which sEEnergies aims to operationalise to a larger extent on a sectoral, system and member state level.

For each sector we take as starting point the state-of-the-art including best practices, policies in place and energy and nonenergy impacts of EE, for the EU and for the 28 Member States.

See our first geographically visualized results by accessing the sEEnergies open data platform or by reading our reports.


“Efficiency First is the fundamental principle around which the EU’s energy system should be designed. It means considering the potential value of investing in efficiency (including energy savings and demand response) in all decisions about energy system development – be that in homes, offices, industry or mobility.”

– Fundamental principle of the EU’s energy system, according to the European Climate Foundation the Energy Union EEFP –

Project Approach

The bottom-up approach used in this project has detailed analyses of EE matters in each sector as a starting point. As a consequence, besides providing a general overview of the EE potentials from an energy systems perspective, sEEnergies also provides advances on the state-of-the-art of the understanding of EEFP consequences for each sector. This enables policy makers and other target groups to easily find the results concerning the sector they are more interested on.

Transport accounts for about 30% of the final energy consumption. 

Measures have been local to improve public transport infrastructure, bike lanes, electric charging stations combined with policies on demanding more and more energy-efficient vehicles on the EU level. EU supports major infrastructure projects in the form of roads and airports.

If 80% of the fuels for personal transport was replaced by electric vehicle drive the savings would be about 30% for the transport sector as a whole. 

There are however many additional potentials: modal shift, other technologies such as hydrogen fuel cells and electrofuels, more EE in the heavy-duty transport and aviation, car-sharing platforms, and use of urban planning.

The question is what the collective EE potentials are and what the additional effects could be on electricity grids, power generation, and costs? 

In sEEnergies three main strategies for lowering energy use within the transportation sector are assessed

  1. Making each separate mode of transport more energy-efficient;
  2. Modal shift from energy demanding to more energy-efficient modes of transport;
  3. Reducing the movement of persons and goods.

In studies of transport policies, energy and the environment, aviation is often left out. However, aviation accounts for a substantial and rapidly increasing part of the transportation energy used. Trends and policy measures affecting energy use for domestic and international flights are, therefore, being assessed in this project, in addition to the assessments of surface transport.

sEEnergies provides specific results on the:

  • Holistic assessment of EE potentials by analyzing strategies for more efficient vehicles, modal shift, and transport demand measures.
  • Use of state-of-the-art mobility and technology knowledge combined with GIS spatial analyses.
  • Development of scenarios for the development in mobility and transport using EE, electrification, and new technologies.

Buildings accounts for 40-50% of the overall consumption for electricity, heating and cooling.

The current EE measures focuses almost solely on improvements to the building envelope and would enable 25% energy savings in the EU.

State-of-the-art research shows that buildings level EE could be higher than 30% and that combining these savings with changes in the supply system can increase the EE further and lower costs. 

EE potentials are higher in the supply system than in the end use, however there is a synergy between the two. In the future, smart meters, digitalisation, demand response, and plus energy buildings may affect the EE potentials.

The question is what the risks are with non-compliance and whether further goals can be set for EE on the demand and supply side for buildings and to what extend electricity, gas or thermal grids have advantages for EE? 

Residential and services buildings constructed in recent years implement moderate to high performance standards but will undergo further refurbishment until 2050. From an investor’s perspective, additional efficiency improvements of the building envelope might be costlier as compared to renewable solutions by that time and therefore, divergent interests need to be balanced.

As the building stock and its current performance standard is very heterogeneous in different European countries, additional sources for cost development of different building types and materials shall be applied by expanding the existing Heat Roadmap Europe dataset to all European countries.

sEEnergies provides specific results on the:

  • EE potentials in the building envelope and electricity savings considering the cost aspects of refurbishment measures.
  • Balances between onsite and system renewable energy and EE measures.
  • Energy saving and EE cost curves for the build environment for member states using detailed building level data.
  • Comprehensive analyses of the use of excess heat from industry and low temperature district heating

Today, industry accounts for 25% of final energy demand in the EU.

Many of the savings within industry are more cost-effective than savings in buildings, also from a private economic perspective. Heavy industry as an example have a potential of 25% EE. However these are not implemented due to too long payback periods, due to lack of knowledge or focus, and due to lack of targeted polices for different types of industries.

Savings overall may be up to 40% combining electrification and other methods based on detailed knowledge about the industrial subsectors. 

Future projections of industrial energy demand generally have a strong focus on the energy intensive sectors. In most cases limited detail is provided for other sectors (often grouped together as “other industry”). Non-process related energy use (such as space heating) cannot be distinguished easily.

Model results offer only aggregated insights in EE improvements where it is hard to distinguish between energy demand savings and savings due to improvement of energy supply technologies, such as boilers and heat pumps. Scenario results are generally not transparent regarding the diffusion rates and performance of improved technology. Other omissions in many industrial scenario studies are: 1) the apparent lack of geographical information in the models which makes it difficult to model in the use of waste heat in a representative way; and 2) the difficulty of models to take into account structure change, both at the aggregate level (industries disappearing from countries) and within industries (e.g. a move towards secondary steel production using electric arc furnaces).

Also the EE potentials vary according to what an acceptable payback time is in each sector. The question is what the potential is in the Energy Union and what the effects of EE may be in different future industrial developments?

In this project, EE potentials in every industrial sub-sectors are assessed, and the spatial location of industrial excess heat in the EU-28 is mapped and analysed. This last one is a crucial step, as the integration of industrial excess heat into district heating might be the key element to reduce the energy demand of the heating sector. Mapping industrial excess heat is also essential when analysing the potential for creating industrial symbiosis, which is considered in this project.

sEEnergies provides specific results on the:

  • Quantification of industrial EE potentials in all industry sub-sectors and member states.
  • Use of state-of-the-art knowledge combined with GIS spatial analyses for using industrial symbioses.
  • Development of scenarios for industry where each sub-sector can be analysed in depth considering EE potentials and potential structural industrial changes.