Turning down the thermostat during the EU energy crisis will save around 10%

Turning down heating by 1C-2C in residential and commercial buildings across Europe would reduce dependence on Russian gas by almost 10%, according to new estimates.

Lowering thermostats in buildings across the EU’s group of 27 countries could save 130 terawatt hours of energy over a year, researchers at Brussels-based economic think tank Bruegel have estimated. The EU imports about 1,700 TWh of gas per year from Russia.

According to the Energy & Utilities Alliance, the UK could also save more than half of the gas it sources from Russia if households lower the level of boiler ‘flow temperature’ – or heat level that circulates in radiators – at 50°C. , a non-profit trade association.

This change would not lower the overall temperature of a property, but would mean that the building would take longer to warm up. This action alone would save about 19 TWh of energy per year, more than half of about 34 TWh of gas that the UK imports from Russia, the group said.

Turning down the heating by 1C in UK residential buildings would also save consumers around 10% each year on their energy bills, according to the Energy saving trust.

“Changes in our daily habits can help lower household energy bills, reduce carbon emissions and ease the strain on the power grid,” the International Energy Agency said. said last year. “Modest behavioral adjustments can, over time, alone generate substantial energy savings.”

The war in Ukraine has prompted EU countries to accelerate their push towards cheaper renewable energy sources, as they reconsider the national security implications of their energy dependence.

Some are also considering contingency plans in case Russian supplies are cut off. This involved finding immediate back-up solutions to a sudden shortage, including energy saving and demand reduction measures.

Last week, Germany and Austria took the first steps towards gas rationing in response to the threat of a halt in deliveries from Russia. The German government has said it will prioritize households over industry if gas supplies run out.

This weekend, however, Grant Shapps, Britain’s Transport Secretary, dismissed the prospect of energy rationing, saying “this is not the path we want to take”.

The Bruegel researchers said that while property energy efficiency measures would “massively reduce the [EU’s] dependence on gas, as almost 75% of the building stock is inefficient”, the necessary improvements, such as the installation of insulation, would be too slow to make a significant difference in the immediate future.

During the oil price crisis of the 1970s, the British government lowered the speed limit on most roads to save fuel. Ministers also temporarily imposed a three-day working week on British industry to reduce demand during the coal miners’ strike.

Climate capital

Where climate change meets business, markets and politics. Check out the FT’s coverage here.

Curious about the FT’s commitments to environmental sustainability? Read more about our scientific goals here

Comments are closed.