What are European countries doing to reduce their energy consumption? | Energy

Paris is turning off the lights of the Eiffel Tower an hour earlier, Milan has turned off public fountains and Hanover is offering gym users cold rather than hot showers to tackle potential energy shortages this winter.

At the same time, the public is encouraged to do their part by avoiding the use of household appliances between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., stocking up on blankets and slowing down their driving.

A global retail chain is encouraging staff to change their behaviors: using stairs instead of elevators, using energy-saving apps at home, and unplugging appliances instead of leaving them on standby.

The UK, on ​​the other hand, has blocked a £15million campaign encouraging the public to save energy, with the government saying the country is ‘not a nanny state’.

But across Europe, governments and city authorities have responded to calls to cut energy consumption and meet the EU’s target of a 15% cut in energy consumption by next March.

All Member States reduce heating in public buildings by one degree to 19°C, but some have gone further.


A Christian Dior showcase. Stores will turn off their lights early to save energy. Photography: Stéphane Cardinale/Corbis/Getty Images

The Eiffel Tower’s lights are turned off more than an hour earlier, saving 4% of energy costs as the city responds to the government’s call to reduce fuel consumption.

The government has also launched a major communication campaign, “Each gesture counts”, encouraging individuals and manufacturers to do their part.

Luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, which has more than 500 stores including brands such as Christian Dior, Givenchy and Tiffany, and supermarket chains LeClerc and Carrefour turn off the lights in their stores three hours early.

Workers are also being encouraged to adopt “new energy consumption behaviors”, such as using stairs instead of elevators, not using printers and unplugging computers and electric cars.

At home, people are asked to keep heating at 19°C or lower in living rooms and kitchens (17°C in bedrooms), lower boiler temperature to 55°C, use appliances power-hungry devices such as dishwashers and washing machines during off-peak hours, and disabling sleep mode on devices, including TVs and wifi routers, when not in use. Households who do so will be rewarded with a “sobriety bonus” (details to come), as will commuters who join a carpool.

Managers of public buildings have been told to switch to LED bulbs, switch off hot water boilers unless essential and not heat offices above 19C.

Sports complexes must lower their heating by two degrees and public swimming pools their water temperature by one degree, while public lighting and signage will be reduced in intensity, switched on for shorter periods and, if possible, switched off between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Businesses and public sector employers have been instructed to organize working from home so that their premises can be completely closed for three or four days at a time, and people with cars provided by employers in the public sector must limit their speed.

Owners of private buildings are encouraged to lower thermostats to 19C when occupied and further lower to 16C overnight and 8C if unoccupied for more than two days, such as weekends -holiday ends.


Ukraine is not only waging a war against Russia, but an energy crisis in one of the coldest countries in Europe.

As the EU lowers its thermostats to 19°C, Ukrainian authorities are talking of reducing central heating in buildings to four degrees cooler than normal, between 17°C and 18°C.

People have been advised to stock up on blankets and warm clothes when temperatures outside fall below the winter average of -10C.


A Zara store in Madrid
A Zara store in Madrid. Shop window lighting must be turned off after 10 p.m. in Spain. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Under a government decree, temperatures cannot be set above 19°C in public buildings.

The new rules do not apply to households, but people are encouraged to do the same.

Shops must also turn off window lighting from 10 p.m. and any air-conditioned or heated premises must be equipped with an automatic door closing mechanism to avoid wasting energy.

Spain, which is not as dependent on Russian energy supplies as many other EU countries, agreed to a 7-8% reduction in gas consumption in solidarity with other EU countries. EU.

The measures will remain in place until November next year.


Officials remove the British flag from the Europa building in Brussels
Officials remove the British flag from the Europa building in Brussels, Belgium, after Brexit. Photography: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Staff have been told not to grumble after the thermostat at the EU Council of Ministers headquarters and the Europa building, site of EU summits, was reduced to 19C.

“Compensating for the lower thermostat setting by bringing in individual electric heaters is obviously out of the question,” says an internal memo that advises staff to “consider coming to work with an extra sweater” and don’t hesitate to wear it. because “energy matters more”. than our traditional dress code.

The Europa Lantern – the oval-shaped internal structure of Council Headquarters known as the Space Egg – will be extinguished, while the vast atrium will be switched to a chilly 14C.

MEPs also reopened their long-running campaign against the European Parliament’s monthly trip to Strasbourg.

German Christian Democrat MEP Peter Liese called on the parliamentary authorities to abandon the trip to Strasbourg until April, because “if we ask everyone to save energy, it is not responsible to heat two buildings and to make unnecessary trips.


The Irish “reduce your use” campaign to reduce energy consumption. Photograph: Irish Government

A government campaign “Reduce your consumption” urges the public to use cookers, dryers, washing machines and kettles efficiently and, if possible, outside peak hours from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The government of the car-dependent country also asks motorists to drive more slowly, maintain tire pressure and drive smoothly to save energy consumption. It also encourages them to opt for one trip per week for walking, cycling or public transport.

Ireland has delayed switching on the heating at the Dáil. In September, several parliamentarians complained about the cold, but staff running the resort said they wanted to lead by example.

In an email, officials said the heating would not be turned on until Oct. 3 at the earliest. After four days of exemplarity, the heating was turned on.


Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. Photography: Annegret Hilse/Reuters

Public monuments, including the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, public buildings and billboards may only be illuminated between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m., except during cultural festivals.

An annual festival of light shows in Berlin took place this week, but organizers said they managed to cut electricity consumption by 75% compared to last year.

The heating in the corridors of public buildings will be switched off. The maximum temperature in public administration offices is 19°C. There is no binding maximum temperature for homes, but private swimming pools should no longer be heated by electricity or gas, unless “urgently necessary for therapeutic use or to avoid damage to swimming pool technology. “.

Public swimming pool temperatures have also been lowered. Some municipalities have gone further and disabled instant hot water.

Hanover said hot water would not be available for handwashing or showers in public buildings, pool showers, sports halls and gymnasiums.


This spring’s Operation Thermostat has already led to a number of energy-saving measures, including the shutdown of public fountains.

The Italian government is asking homeowners to lower the central heating by 1°C and turn it off for an extra hour each day.

It also encourages people to take shorter showers, only use dishwashers and washing machines when fully loaded, and not leave appliances on standby.


The Dutch government is advising households and businesses to take measures to reduce their consumption, including reducing heating by 1 C.

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