How Germany is scrambling to save energy

People all around Germany are reducing their use as they start to realize the degree of impending increases in energy prices.
The same is true for local governments, like the one in Cologne.

A well-known sight has disappeared from Cologne’s nightly skyline.
The city’s cathedral, which is also Germany’s most popular tourist destination, is no longer lit up at night.
The action is one of the clearest indications that a severe energy shortage is imminent as supplies from Russia decrease as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.

The official energy crisis team for Cologne is led by Andrea Blome, who stated that there is now no need to worry but that it is nevertheless necessary to get ready for a serious disaster.

Of course, we are now prioritizing electricity savings because summer heat reduces demand for heat.
Now that lighting is our main concern, it includes the soccer stadium, the cathedral, the iconic City Hall, and the Rhine crossings.
At 11:00 p.m., all of their lights are turned off, she claimed.

More than 130 public buildings in the city now have their lights turned down at night, and starting at 11 p.m., the street lights will also be dimmed.
To comply with a rule set down by the European Union, Cologne is making sacrifices in order to reduce energy usage by the anticipated 15%.

Germans cook less and take shorter showers

German consumers learned on Monday how much more they will have to pay for gas over the winter.
German homes and companies will be subject to a 2.4 euro cent per kilowatt-hour winter gas fee starting in October.
According to Robert Habeck, minister of the economy, the annual cost of the fee will amount to “several hundred euros per household.”

Habeck forewarned that Germany would experience a difficult fall and winter two months prior.
He urged people to take shorter showers, use air conditioners less frequently, and bathe less frequently.

According to Grohe Germany’s managing director, Alexander Zeeh, demand for water-saving appliances has increased dramatically in recent weeks.
In particular, he suggested, for sinks and shower heads.

Germans have reportedly received the message: primarily to safeguard their own pockets while also standing in sympathy with Ukraine.
People all around the nation are already taking shorter, colder showers, limiting how much power their computers and phones use, and swapping out cooked meals for cold snacks.

Needed immediately: energy consultants

Energy specialists appear to be in high demand in Germany at the moment.
One of the 13,000 such consultants in the nation, Celia Schütze founded the Bonn Energy Agency ten years ago and currently serves as its managing director.

According to her, the agency had 70% more requests in the first quarter of 2022 than typical, to the point where it was unable to handle them all.
They have long since shifted from one-on-one consultations to group meetings where they explain the fundamentals of photovoltaics, offer advice on building insulation, and cover all the details of heat pumps.
Typically, there is a waiting list of at least two months.

Schütze claimed “Part of the feeling is one of helplessness.
Many people are first unaware of where they consume the most. They are unsure about where to begin.

Of course, a lot of people have also believed that their gas heating is contemporary and effective for a very long time.
But it isn’t at all the case.
since fossil fuels are also used in every gas heating system.”

The government urges Germans to conserve energy

Every property has potential for energy conservation

With a chuckle, Schütze recalls a cartoon she recently watched, which showed a mass of people waiting for a VIP or star to cross the threshold shortly.
Finally, a specialist for energy shows up; appointments are still open.
But the parody draws attention to a

The first thing Schütze advises people to do is to look at anything they don’t use every day that might still be using energy.
Afterwards, adopt easy measures like “setting the heating down by just one degree, saving six percent of energy usage.”

The pursuit of climate neutrality should be prioritized.

Climate neutrality is the long-term objective, according to Celia Schütze in all of her consultations.
Like many other cities, Bonn has said that it wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.
To move away from gas, oil, and coal, in other words.
Can Germany as a whole do the same?

When asked what she would say to Energy Minister Robert Habeck, who has returned to coal following a phaseout that was intended, Schütze replied: “Insulation and energy efficiency should be given more attention, in my opinion.
It’s unfortunate that, of all things, the finance situation for building renovations has recently gotten worse.
That is unfortunate.
After all, remodeling presents a fantastic chance to install and run heat pumps effectively.
And it would make sense to give this kind of advise centers, whether they are regional energy agency or consumer centers, additional institutional support.”

The original language of this article was German.

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