We present a detailed analysis of energy intensity developments across 23 service sectors in 18 OECD countries over the period 1980-2005. We find that the shift towards a service economy has contributed to lower overall energy intensity levels in the OECD, but this contribution would have been considerably larger if the service sector had realized the same degree of energy efficiency improvements as the manufacturing sector. In most OECD countries energy intensity levels in services tend to decrease relatively slow, especially after 1995. If we control this trend for the impact of structural changes within the services sector - by means of a decomposition analysis - we find that in about one-third of the OECD countries, energy intensity levels in services have increased over time. The impact of structural changes on aggregate energy intensity dynamics in services has increased considerably after 1995, highlighting a relatively poor energy efficiency performance within a wide range of service sectors. We show that the introduction of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays a potentially important role here. Using panel data regression analysis, we find a limited role for energy prices in explaining variation in energy productivity, while climate conditions clearly impact energy productivity. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.