New figures from Sustainable Energy Ireland show that the total energy consumption of the services sector in 2003 was 88% above its 1990 level. This represents an average annual increase of 5% over the 13 years.

SEI says that this is in stark contrast to the superior energy performance of the Irish economy as a whole. It says that energy consumption has significantly decoupled from economic activity over the same period of time with GDP growing by 130% for an energy growth of only 57%.

1990 is significant as a baseline year because the Kyoto Protocol and associated EU targets are based on emissions from that year, it adds.

According to the report, the services sector was the fastest growing sector for final energy consumption in 2003 (8.3%), growing by more than double that of the next fastest growing sector, residential (3.4%).

Figures from the Irish Hotels Federation show that the hotel industry in Ireland is spending in the region of €70-100m a year on energy.

Sustainable Energy Ireland is the statutory authority charged with promoting and assisting the development of energy efficiency and renewable energy.