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Saving energy – the Swiss way

As winter looms, Europe is preparing for a difficult winter with regards to its energy consumption. Switzerland is also affected as, in normal times, it imports all of its gas and 10% of its electricity. This is why the government has called for the population to start saving energy on a voluntary basis, so that it will not have to impose any extra regulations.

The goal is to reduce the country’s energy consumption by 15%.Tthis would eliminate the need to import electricity and greatly reduce the need to import more gas. Bear in mind that the price of electricity and gas is also going to go up so adopting these saving tips will also help the consumer in the long term.

Here are the government’s suggestions on how to save energy:

5 tips to save on hot water:

  • Take a shower instead of a bath: Save a lot of hot water by taking only short showers that are not too hot. A water temperature of around 37°C is ideal for the body and for saving energy.
  • Boil the right amount of water: Bringing water to the boil requires a lot of energy. Always consider beforehand how much hot water you really need.
  • Kettle instead of pan: A kettle requires 30% less energy than a pan with a lid when heating water.
  • Wash at a low temperature: Wash clothes at the lowest possible temperature and use economy programmes.
  • Install economy fittings: Use efficiency class A fittings and showers in the kitchen and bathroom. The modern flow regulators can be easily screwed into the taps instead of the old aerators and save up to 50% water.

5 tips to save on heating:

  • Lower the room temperature: Make sure that the room temperature does not exceed 20°C.
  • Install a thermostatic valve: Thermostatic valves on radiators automatically maintain the room temperature at the desired value and thus help to save up to 20% energy.
  • Ventilate properly: If you ventilate during the heating season with the windows constantly tilted, a lot of heat escapes into the open air. It is better to open all windows three times a day for 5 to 10 minutes for energy-saving forced ventilation.
  • Keep radiators free: Warm air must be able to circulate freely in the rooms. Therefore, keep radiators free of furniture or curtains.
  • Ventilate the heating system: Create a good indoor climate and reduce energy consumption for heating by up to 15%. To do this, bleed the heating system before the start of the heating season.

5 tips to save on electricity

  • Fill machine completely: Half-full dishwashers, washing machines or tumble dryers consume just as much electricity as full ones. Start the appliance only when it is full, but do not overload it.
  • Don’t set it too cool: Often the temperature of refrigerators or freezers is too low. Set the fridge to 7°C and the freezer to -18°C.
  • Don’t preheat the oven: Do not preheat, save around 20% energy.
  • Use LED technology: Conventional halogen lamps consume much more electricity than modern LED technology. Equip your home with LED light sources and save electricity at the touch of a button.
  • Switch off with a power strip: Do not leave electrical appliances in standby or sleep mode, but switch them off completely. The easiest way to do this is with a mains switch or a power strip. With one click, several devices can save electricity at the same time.

5 tips to save on energy in the household:

  • Switch off the coffee machine: Appliances in stand-by mode consume a lot of electricity. Switch off the machine completely after use. This applies to all electric appliances.
  • Keep radiators free: Warm air must be able to circulate freely in the rooms. Therefore, keep radiators free of furniture or curtains.
  • Always turn off lights: Make sure that lights are always turned off in rooms that are not in use.
  • Cook with a lid: A large part of the energy evaporates when cooking. Always put a lid on the pot to retain the energy. By the way, food cooks faster this way.

The government has not excluded that should these tips not be properly implemented or suffice that it would then resort to imposing bans on the use of energy in certain areas. Cities are also looking at how they could save energy and one saving potential would be to not put Christmas lights up in the city centers this year.

charlie.hartmann@livinginluzern.swiss

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.

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