Following a request from the European Commission, the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) derived dietary reference values for energy, which are provided as average requirements (ARs) of specified age and sex groups. For children and adults, total energy expenditure (TEE) was determined factorially from estimates of resting energy expenditure (REE) plus the energy needed for various levels of physical activity (PAL) associated with sustainable lifestyles in healthy individuals. To account for uncertainties inherent in the prediction of energy expenditure, ranges of the AR for energy were calculated with several equations for predicting REE in children (1–17 years) and adults. For practical reasons, only the REE estimated by the equations of Henry (2005) was used in the setting of the AR and multiplied with PAL values of 1.4, 1.6, 1.8 and 2.0, which approximately reflect low active (sedentary), moderately active, active and very active lifestyles. For estimating REE in adults, body heights measured in representative national surveys in 13 EU Member States and body masses calculated from heights assuming a body mass index of 22 kg/m2 were used. For children, median body masses and heights from the WHO Growth Standards or from harmonised growth curves of children in the EU were used. Energy expenditure for growth was accounted for by a 1 % increase of PAL values for each age group. For infants (7–11 months), the AR was derived from TEE estimated by regression equation based on doubly labelled water (DLW) data, plus the energy needs for growth. For pregnant and lactating women, the additional energy for the deposition of newly formed tissue, and for milk output, was derived from data obtained by the DLW method and from factorial estimates, respectively. The proposed ARs for energy may need to be adapted depending on specific objectives and target populations.