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ENERGY

‘Mission 11’: Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel

From driving slowly to showering quickly, here are the tips Austria's federal government gave to save energy and fuel ahead of winter.

'Mission 11': Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel
Here are the tips to save energy and fuel from Austria's government (Photo by Iris on Unsplash)

Austria’s federal government on Monday launched its “Mission 11” campaign intending to help the country’s residents reduce energy consumption by eleven percent.

“Today we are launching Mission 11 and we hope that as many people as possible will join us”, Climate Protection Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said in a press conference on Monday. She added that “small changes in our behaviour” could help the country save energy amid the global energy crisis.

The government announced several tips to keep houses warmer, save energy, and improve efficiency.

Gewessler also gave an update on gas storage in Austria, saying that domestic gas storage tanks are currently 70.69 percent full. She added that by November 1st, the tanks should be at about 80 percent full. According to the federal government, there should be no issue with the gas supply, and any missing quantities from Russia could be replaced by buying from other sellers.

In addition to the energy saving campaign, the government is working on medium- and longer-term measures to save energy, including the Energy Efficiency Act.

A package of binding measures is also currently being developed in the Ministry of Climate, but this still needs to be discussed in the coalition. The minister didn’t give any further details.

However, she had already indicated to Austrian media that there would be binding rules. For example, the room temperature in public buildings should be limited to 19C. This would not apply to schools and hospitals but to municipal offices and ministries.

There is also a planned ban on advertising lighting after 10 p.m. A controversial end to heating islands in gastronomy (the outdoor electric heaters in bars and restaurants) is also being studied.

Here are the government tips for private citizens and their households.

Tips to keep your home warmer

Among the main measures, the government recommended reducing the heating temperature by two degrees Celsius over the entire heating period. This would reduce the heating bill by twelve percent annually, Gewessler said.

Additionally, they suggested people keep their radiators uncovered, without clutter, to help the spread of warm air, using sealing tapes against leaky windows, airing out rooms three times of day (instead of keeping windows slightly open), closing doors to unheated rooms, using programmable thermostats to keep heating on only when people are at home and raising humidity with the help of plants.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Should I buy an electric heater in Austria this winter?

Tips to save up on energy and heating

Gewessler said that the average person in Austria takes a five-minute shower, but if people cut this time by one minute, they’d get a 20 percent savings in energy.

The Climate Ministry also recommended people take showers instead of baths, use a low-flow shower head, and keep temperatures lower to save up on energy.

The government also said that for short periods, such as when you need to brush your teeth or wash your hands, cold water should be used.

READ ALSO: How could Austria’s new electricity price brake benefit you?

Tips to save up on electricity

According to the government, a typical household has from ten to 20 appliances that are permanently on standby, which means that even when they are off, they are still consuming electricity. Disconnecting them could help residents save up to ten percent of their energy.

Additionally, the Climate Ministry said any homes still using classic incandescent lamps should make the switch to LED lamps. Finally, when doing laundry, always ensure that there is a full load and that you are using the “eco” or “energy-saving” settings.

There are several tips regarding a house refrigerator or freezer. For example, the Climate Ministry said that regularly defrosting a freezer can help save up on electricity and that a filled refrigerator consumes less energy than an empty one.

It’s also important to check your appliances for any defective sealing. The placing of the refrigerator is also important, as it should not be near a heat source.

READ ALSO: From inflation to Covid: What to expect from Austria’s winter season

Tips on saving fuel

Of course, the federal government recommended people switch to public transport or cycling. Switching to public transportation can save 94 percent of energy compared to using a diesel or petrol car.

If you need to drive, do it slowly, as it saves energy, the government said. They suggested a voluntary speed limit of 100km/h on the Autobahn that could save up to 24 percent fuel.

Another tip is to carpool whenever possible, especially when going to work, and to check your tyre pressure.

READ ALSO: ‘We’re under massive pressure’: Austria’s train operator ÖBB to increase prices

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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

Austria is known as a country with a high standard of living, but it also comes with a high cost of living. Here’s an overview of what you can expect to earn in Austria.

How much do you need to earn for a good life in Austria?

As with most things in Austria, the question of ‘what is a good salary?’ is difficult to answer as the cost of living (and wages) can vary between states and cities.

For example, the east of Austria is typically much cheaper than the west for housing (with the exception of Vienna). And those living in cities often have easier – and cheaper – access to public transport when compared with people living in rural areas. 

READ ALSO: ‘Bad-tempered locals’: Vienna ranked the world’s ‘unfriendliest city’

Childcare is also something to consider with huge differences between Vienna, where there is access to heavily subsidised services, and places like Tyrol where childcare costs more.

To delve a bit deeper, we looked at the data to find out the average salary in Austria and how it differs between professions and locations.

What is the average salary in Austria?

In 2021, the average gross annual salary in Austria was €44,395, according to the latest data from Statistics Austria

However, in the latest survey by online job platform Step Stone, the average gross annual salary in Austria is €49,609.

The Step Stone survey then broke it down further by industry with those working in pharma earning the most at €60,504. This was followed by energy at €60,345, medical technology at €59,106 and banking at €58,711.

The industry with the lowest average annual salary is hotels/gastronomy at €37,546, followed by agriculture at €39,779 and tourism at €43,965.

FOR MEMBERS: REVEALED: The best and worst districts to live in Vienna (as voted for by you)

Occupation also plays a part with people working in management earning the most – on average €66,768. Consulting came second at €53,721.

And like many other European countries, the gender pay gap in Austria prevails. The average annual salary for a man is €52,633 and for a woman it is €44,330.

Furthermore, the top earning city in Austria is Bregenz in Vorarlberg with an average annual salary of €54,620. When comparing the west of Austria with the east, the median salary in Vorarlberg is €46,450, whereas in Burgenland it is just €39,100.

What is the average cost of living in Austria?

Many international residents will find everyday living costs in Austria to be expensive, especially for those that come from countries with a much lower cost of living.

Inflation has also been rising steadily in Austria throughout 2022, leading to some steep rises in prices for groceries, housing costs and energy.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: 10 ways to save money on your groceries in Austria

However, the average cost of living varies across the country, depending on the location. For example, Vienna and Innsbruck in Tyrol are two of Austria’s most expensive cities, but more affordable places to live are Graz in Styria and Klagenfurt in Carinthia.

In Vienna, the average price for a one bedroom apartment in the city centre is €915, going up to €2,000 for a three bedroom apartment, according to Expat Arrivals.

Whereas in Graz, the average cost of a one bedroom city centre apartment is around €609, and a three bedroom apartment is €1,170.

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