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Energy intensity in the tertiary sector

In 2013, the energy intensity of the tertiary sector in the Brussels-Capital Region, in other words the energy consumption per job in the sector, amounted on average to 12 MWh LCV/job.
It has been relatively stable over time, but has shown a slight downward trend since 2006.

From 1998 onwards, the heating requirements (or fuel consumption) per job decreased, but until 2006 this was compensated by an important increase in the electricity consumption per job.

Context

The energy intensity is the relationship between the amount of energy a sector consumes and a variable that represents this sector. Hence, a higher energy intensity corresponds to:

  • Either a greater consumption of energy per unit of the variable considered,
  • Or a reduction in the representative variable used (decrease in the value of the denominator in the ratio calculated).

In order to estimate the energy intensity of the economic activities, two approaches are used: the number of workers or the production (added value). Since the tertiary sector, involving the provision of services, generates many jobs within the Brussels Region, the number of jobs will serve as benchmark for the sector's energy intensity calculations.

Evolution of the energy intensity in the tertiary sector

Evolution of the energy intensity in the tertiary sector (in relation to the number of jobs within the service sector) in the Brussels Region, with and without climatic correction of the energy consumption
Source: Regional energy balances 1995-2013 and National Bank of Belgium, according to ICN-INR, calculations by Brussels Environment

 As a reminder: the climatic correction is aimed at identifying the influence of the meteorological characteristics for the relevant year (DD 15/15) and therefore at giving an idea of the evolution of the energy consumption at a constant climate (in comparison to the climate of 1990 in this case).

In 2013, the energy consumption of the tertiary sector in the Brussels-Capital Region amounted to an average of 12 MWh per job in the service sector.

The energy intensity in the tertiary sector (per job) remained relatively stable over the years, although we have recorded a downward trend since 2006.

Energy intensity in the tertiary sector, per energy source

Energy intensity in the tertiary sector in the Brussels Region (compared to the employment in the service sector, 1995 = 100), according to energy source

Source: Regional energy balances and the National Bank of Belgium, according to ICN-INR, calculations by Brussels Environment

The analysis of the evolution of the tertiary energy intensity (per job) per energy vector makes it possible to specify this overall trend: a significant reduction in the consumption of fuels (related to heating needs) has been observed since 1998. A significant increase in electricity consumption was observed however until 2006, followed by a subsequent stabilising and even decrease.

Explanatory factors

Several factors can explain this evolution:

  • the evolution of the tertiary activity in Brussels (type, number of jobs, …);
  • the evolution of the equipment of the businesses (type and comfort level of the building stock, electric and electronic equipment, …);
  • the enhanced energy quality of the building stock (including e.g. insulation of the buildings, new constructions which perform better in this respect);
  • the enhanced energy efficiency of the equipment used (in casu: office automation, or heating equipment);
  • the effect of energy-saving behaviours, either imposed (for instance due to rising energy prices or via legislation) or voluntary (because managers have become aware of environmental issues and the sustainable use of natural resources): improvement in the setting of installations, reduction of the heating temperature in buildings, etc.
Date de mise à jour: 13/11/2018