Dhe first step towards saving energy is doing without. Anyone who turns down the heating, leaves the car at home or no longer switches on the dryer reduces their own consumption – and saves money in view of the high energy prices. Due to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, these efforts are becoming more important: In order to get away from Russian energy supplies, the government is calling for energy saving. “Every kilowatt hour saved helps,” said Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) this week when he announced the early warning level in the gas emergency plan. Who saves, help Germany and Ukraine.
Put on a jumper, put on slippers, throw the blanket around: your own four walls should be less warm, but not too cold either. According to estimates, every degree of room temperature less reduces energy consumption by six percent. According to the real estate association GDW, 20 to 22 degrees are sufficient during the heating period. At night, the temperature can be lower, dropping to 16-17 degrees. The radiators themselves should be free, since curtains and furniture do not let heat into the room. For ventilation, it is clear that the valves should be closed, otherwise the heating will heat out the window. More efficient than tilted windows is forced airing several times a day for a maximum of five minutes in frosty weather or ten to 15 minutes between seasons. Especially before sleeping and after getting up, it should be ventilated to prevent moisture.
Less heat in the house is a significant lever so that Germany needs less energy from Russia. Every second apartment in this country is heated with gas and every fourth apartment with oil. Russian deliveries last year accounted for 55 percent for natural gas, 34 percent for oil and 26 percent for coal.
Natural gas is more difficult to replace from other supplier countries than coal or oil. After industry, households are the second largest natural gas customer, but natural gas is also used in power generation. According to the energy association BDEW, the Russian share of natural gas has already fallen to 40 percent in the first three months of the year because other countries are supplying more. Austerity efforts can hardly offset everything Russia supplies, but in the event of a supply freeze, consumption would probably need less regulation.
Buy efficient devices
The next step in saving energy: pay attention to energy efficiency. However, there are often expenses involved in replacing older devices. Refrigerators and freezers run constantly and account for a large proportion of electricity consumption. Older devices often require 150 kilowatt hours a year, or even more than new refrigerators. An exchange saves 50 euros a year and can pay off after a few years. Poorer households can get advice on the “Electricity Price Check” subsidy program and then receive a voucher for a subsidy for a new refrigerator.
If you live in your own home and want to invest more, you can insulate the walls, replace windows, buy a solar system or even install a new heating system that does not require gas or oil. The costs depend on the individual case, but should be more than 10,000 euros. There are also subsidy programs for this, which subsidize the installation of a heat pump for gas heating with 35 percent and for oil heating with 45 percent. This will be difficult in the short term because craftsmen are rare. First of all, energy consultants can show the owner which approach promises how much. According to the energy efficiency initiative DENEFF, the insulation of the top floor saves an average of 7 percent heating energy and the insulation of the heating pipes 13 euros per meter per year.
Smaller investments can be implemented more quickly: everyone can buy energy-saving shower heads and flow limiters for the tap in the hardware store to reduce water consumption. Showering instead of bathing or cold instead of warm water are also tried and tested tips.
Fuel prices at filling stations have risen particularly sharply. For short distances within the village, even the ADAC now recommends using a bicycle or walking. If you don’t leave the car at home, you can reduce consumption by carpooling or by driving: brake lightly, accelerate quickly but not abruptly and change to the next higher gear early. Air pressure that is too low increases consumption and should be checked. If you want to fill up cheaper, compare the gas station prices with a petrol price app on your smartphone. It is often expensive here after 7 a.m. and in rush-hour traffic.
Environmentalists are also calling for speed limits again. According to the Federal Environment Agency, a speed limit of 100 kilometers per hour on freeways and 80 on out-of-town roads should save around 3.8 percent of the fuel consumed in the transport sector. According to this, anyone driving 100 instead of 120 kilometers an hour on the autobahn uses 15 percent less fuel.
As with a car, the energy requirement falls when household appliances are not used more often. This is certainly not always possible, but the light can be switched off when leaving a room. Televisions and other electronic devices should not be left on stand-by, but switched off completely. Chargers can also consume electricity if they are only plugged into the socket without a device. Power strips with an off switch help here. The municipal utility association VKU advises households to get an overview of their energy consumption, for which municipal suppliers offer online energy checks.
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