Almost 83 percent of Germany's greenhouse gas emissions are energy-related and occur when natural gas, crude oil or coal are burned for energy. Carbon dioxide accounts for 98 percent of these emissions, followed by methane and nitrous oxide. (1) The problem with these gases is their impact on the environment: because fossil fuels fuel global warming and produce air pollutants.
Independence from Russia, climate protection and saving money
Due to the current energy crisis in connection with Russia, calls are being made everywhere to save energy. If you also consider the environmental aspect and the CO₂ emissions caused by energy use, saving energy pays off twice: for our planet and for a faster escape from Russia's dependence. At the same time, it's good for your wallet.
According to the Federal Environment Agency, the energy industry is the main source of greenhouse gas emissions here in Germany at 35 percent, closely followed by the transport (24 percent) and industry (19 percent) sectors. However, private households also account for 15 percent of emissions, and the commercial, trade and services sector for six percent (1).
Even in the office kitchen the lid can stay on the pot
In order to get through the winter financially well, to promote independence from Russia and to support the preservation of our beautiful planet, each of us can contribute to saving energy. Whether at home or in the office, many of our tips are flexible and apply to both. Because even in the office kitchen, the lid can stay on the pot.
Save energy: Heating area
- One degree less: Each degree less saves around five percent in heating costs. The exact savings depend on the size of the apartment and the insulation of the house.
- Optimal room temperature: At night or when you are not at home, 18 degrees room temperature is quite sufficient. If you are away for several days, 15 degrees will do.
- Keep it warm: The heat stays in the house by closing doors and lowering blinds. Drafts should be avoided, and if the windows are drafty after all, they can be sealed with self-adhesive sealing tape from the hardware store. Rubber seals are more expensive, but last longer and for doors there are draught stoppers. This is worthwhile, because heat loss through doors and windows can be up to 30 percent.
- Humid air heats up quickly. Therefore, it can help to hang humidifiers on radiators. Certain indoor plants, such as the golden fruit palm, the sword fern or the flamingo flower, also contribute to higher humidity.
- Keep distance: Furniture should not be placed directly in front of the radiator, but at a distance of 20 to 30 centimeters. This allows the air to circulate well. Free radiators save up to 12 percent in energy costs.
In addition, radiators should be regularly vented and cleaned, because even a small layer of dust can reduce heating performance. If you live in your own home, you can insulate the heating pipes in the basement, otherwise valuable energy is lost. (3)
- Do not use fan heaters: Electric heaters are not designed to permanently replace classic radiators and consume a lot of electricity. (3) This is also reflected in the bill: Due to the increased gas prices, an apartment with 80 square meters currently pays around 1,400 euros for an energy consumption of 800 kWh. If the apartment were heated with electric heaters, the cost would be 2,800 euros at a price of 35 cents per kWh. (5)
Save energy: Water area
- Laundry: Laundry also gets clean only from the main program. With three wash cycles per week, up to 35 kilograms of CO₂ and 15 euros per year can be saved without prewashing.
Other tips: Always fully load the washing machine. And: According to the Federal Environment Agency, colored laundry can be washed at 20 to 30 degrees; white laundry gets clean at 40 degrees. 60 degrees is thus only necessary once a month to protect the machine from germ growth. (4)
- Water-saving showerhead: A water-saving showerhead reduces water consumption and can save up to 30 percent in energy (6). Care should be taken to ensure that the water flow is less than nine liters per minute.
- Shower tips: Showering one degree colder or shorter can have a big effect: Showering just one minute less saves about 37 euros a year. You can also turn off the water when soaping up in the shower and generally set the faucet for your hands to cold, wipe the floor in cold water or select eco mode for the washing machine. (3)
Save energy: Even small livestock makes a mess
- Switch to LEDs: With normal incandescent lamps, 95 percent of their energy is dissipated in heat. Only five percent is used to generate light. LEDs can reduce energy consumption by up to 90 percent. (2)
- Laptop instead of PC: Laptops require less energy and avoid up to 120 kilograms of CO₂ a year compared to PCs. This not only saves CO₂, but also true costs: Up to 55 euros a year are saved when working only on a laptop.
- Avoid dryers: Dryers emit up to 385 kg of CO₂ per year. If the clothes are air-dried, up to 180 euros a year can be saved.
- Defrost the freezer: A five-millimeter layer of icing alone increases the refrigerator's electricity consumption by 30 percent and thus the electricity bill by almost 15 euros per year. Regular defrosting saves 30 kilograms of CO₂.
- Do without standby: If the standby mode is used on many devices, the devices consume electricity around the clock, which can thus result in up to 245 kg of CO₂ per year. Doing without can save 115 euros and 400 kWh a year. (2)
- Cooking with a lid: Without a lid, energy consumption increases by up to 30 percent, while pressure cookers save up to 50 percent energy and time.
- Humid air heats up quickly, so it can help to hang humidifiers on radiators. Certain indoor plants, such as the golden fruit palm, the sword fern or the flamingo flower, also contribute to higher humidity.
- Green surfing: By running cell phones in flight mode at night, battery power is actively saved. The router can also be switched off at night or during the day when no one is at home. Calculated over the year, this can save up to 27 euros. (3)
And what has the greatest effect now?
In business, the big factors are clearly building heating and cooling, but switching to LEDs can also save companies energy and cash. The focus is also on purchasing green electricity. In the home, appliances such as refrigerators, freezers and dryers are the biggest energy guzzlers - but the standby mode of many appliances (whether in the office or at home) also consumes a lot of electricity.
As with all other climate protection measures, it is clear here, too: It's the masses that count. And if we all join forces to save energy, we will make a major contribution to independence and climate protection - and save money on top.
- Energy-related emissions | Federal Environment Agency
- Save energy: 17 new energy saving tips for the household - Utopia.de
- Focus 42/ 2022 "How to save energy now".
- Washing clothes, detergents | Federal Environment Agency
- Energy crisis in Europe: Does electric heating pay off now? (handelsblatt.com)
- Economy shower heads: 7 shower heads to reduce your water consumption - Utopia.de