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Turning down the thermostat by just one or two degrees Celsius could save some 10 percent of the energy that the EU imports from Russia, the Financial Times reported in the latest sign that European governments are hard at work encouraging people to reduce their energy consumption.
The report cited estimates made by a Brussels-based economic think-tank dubbed Bruegel. According to Bruegel, the EU could save 130 terawatt-hours per year if all Europeans turn down the thermostat and the water boiler. For context, the same researchers estimate Russian energy imports at 1,700 terawatt-hours annually.
Turning down the thermostat was also one of the suggestions made by the International Energy Agency to help Europe cope with record gas prices.
"The average temperature for buildings' heating across the EU at present is above 22°C," the IEA said in its plan. "Adjusting the thermostat for buildings heating would deliver immediate annual energy savings of around 10 bcm for each degree of reduction while also bringing down energy bills."
Separately, national governments are also calling on their citizens to reduce their energy consumption. The Dutch government, for instance, launched a whole campaign promoting lower heating degrees in order to reduce the country's dependence on Russian gas.
"Our energy bills are rising, we need to become less dependent on gas from Russia, and we want to fight climate change," the campaign said, also advising the Dutch to "Put on a warm jacket or jumper, socks and slippers."
The vice-president of the European Commission, Margrethe Vestager, recently advised people to take shorter showers and, "when you turn off the water, say 'Take that, Putin!'"
Shorter showers are also being advised by other government officials as one way to conserve energy and reduce dependence on Russian gas.
Meanwhile, Europe is going through a cold spell, with temperatures in France hitting the lowest for this time of the year since 1947—a certainly unfortunate coincidence as European governments call for lower energy consumption.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.