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How to keep your apartment cool in Austria this summer amid rising energy prices

With energy costs continuing to rise, in Austria many people are reluctant to use air conditioning in their apartments this summer. Here’s how to keep your apartment cool without breaking the bank.

How to keep your apartment cool in Austria this summer amid rising energy prices
The temperature is rising in Austria, but so are energy bills. Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

It’s a well-known fact that air conditioning units are expensive to run – and even more so this year with spiralling energy costs.

But with temperatures in Austria already hitting the mid-30s on some days, apartment dwellers are starting to feel the heat.

What are the alternatives to air conditioning? Here’s what you need to know.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

Use a fan

An electrical fan might not cool the air down as much as an air conditioning system but it is significantly cheaper to run. 

Der Standard reports that a fan uses 95 percent less energy than a mobile AC unit with an average cost of just €7 per summer (based on 60 days of use).

Whereas a mobile air conditioning unit could cost €170 in additional electricity costs.

Close blinds and curtains

One of the easiest and most cost effective ways to cool down an apartment is to keep all blinds and curtains closed during the day to keep out the heat.

In Vienna, there are even government subsidies available to purchase external blinds and shutters for an apartment. Although permission from a landlord is required for rental properties.

The City of Vienna website has more information about this scheme.

Hang up wet laundry

A top tip to cool down a hot apartment is to hang up wet laundry to dry.

As the clothes dry, evaporation removes heat from the air which cools down the room. Plus, it saves more money on energy bills by not using a tumble dryer.

READ ALSO: Ten ways to save money on your trip to Austria this summer

Wear clothing made from natural fibres

Wearing natural fibres is one of the best ways to stay cool in hot weather.

This means wearing clothing made from cotton, linen, silk, bamboo, lyocell or merino wool.

Bamboo and lyocell are also sustainable crops, so buying clothes made from these fibres is better for the environment too (as long as it’s from FSC-certified wood).

Drink lots of water

This is an obvious one, but it works.

Always drink plenty of water during hot weather – even when inside an apartment – as this will help to keep your body temperature down.

Additionally, try to eat a light diet during times of high temperatures, such as salads and vegetables.

READ MORE: Vienna to handout €200 payments to counter rising energy costs

Use a damp cloth

If it gets really hot at night, try using a cool damp cloth to cool the neck.

It won’t have the same effect as crisp air conditioning, but it will help to cool you down.

Last resort

If there really is no other option than air conditioning then try to use it sparingly. For example, just for a few hours at night.

Mobile air conditioning units are the most expensive with approximately 8kWh of electricity consumed during an eight hour period. However, these are easy to source at hardware stores and are simple to install.

Split units (with indoor and outdoor compartments) are cheaper to run but need to be installed by a specialist and usually require permission from a landlord. These devices use around 40 to 50 percent less energy than a mobile unit.

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ENERGY

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Christmas illuminations in Vienna will also be scaled back this year as part of the city's energy saving measures.

Vienna forced to dim street lighting and cancel some Christmas illuminations

Vienna, a city known for its Christmas markets and its New Year concert, is cutting back on public lighting in the face of soaring energy prices.

“There will be no Christmas illuminations this year on the Ring,” the famous boulevard that encircles the centre of the Austrian capital, city spokeswoman Roberta Kraft told AFP.

READ MORE: Five of the biggest challenges facing Austria right now

And the lights at the Christmas market in the square in front of the city hall would only be switched on at night and not at dusk, as in previous years, “which is to say about an hour later, on average, every day”, she said.

The city authorities said they had not calculated exactly how much they would save, but the move comes after energy prices have skyrocketed following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its response to Western sanctions.

Last Friday, the Austrian Energy Agency announced that its electricity price index for September rose by more than 256 percent year-on-year.

READ ALSO: Inflation at 9.2% in July: How to beat rising prices in Austria

Austria, with its population of nine million, is very dependent on tourism and its end-of-year celebrations are a major motor of the economy.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down much international travel, more than four million people visited Vienna’s famous Christmas markets in 2019.

In 2021, around 30 of Vienna’s shopping streets were lit up for seven hours a day, from November 12 until early January.

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