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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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ENERGY

UPDATED: Will Austria have enough gas for this winter?

Austria's gas storage tanks are filling up as gas consumption remains low. Here's what it means for the coming winter season.

UPDATED: Will Austria have enough gas for this winter?

On Tuesday, Austria’s Climate Ministry confirmed the country’s gas storage tanks are now 80 percent full. 

The milestone was reached one month ahead of schedule and the amount is equivalent to the country’s average gas usage during a winter season.

Austria reached the target amount after more Russian gas flowed into the country than is currently being consumed, which means the storage levels will continue to increase.

READ ALSO: Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

In a statement, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said: “We pulled out all the stops to fill our large storage facilities and create this security of supply. 

“Today, we can say we are well prepared. Our storage facilities are 80 percent full and continue to fill up.”

Nehammer also confirmed that Austria’s dependence on Russian gas has been reduced from 80 percent to 50 percent, reports the Kronen Zeitung.

But despite the good news, Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler (Greens) said the situation “remains tense”, adding that Russia is not a “reliable counterpart”.

Earlier this year, the Austrian Federal Government set the 80 percent target to ensure the gas supply for the winter months amid fears the gas supply could be disrupted.

FOR MEMBERS: READER QUESTION: When should I turn on my heating in Austria this year?

Even the storage facility at Haidach (the Salzburg-Upper Austrian site that borders Bavaria in Germany) is filling up after RAG, the largest gas storage operator and energy storage company in Austria, overtook management in August. Previously, Haidach was managed by Russia’s Gazprom unit and the facility had not been refilled since last winter.

This is good news for Austria as Tyrol and Vorarlberg’s gas supply comes from Bavaria, reports Der Standard.

How much gas can Austria store?

Austria can store 90 terrawatt hours (TWh) of gas when the storage tanks are full.

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

However, only around half of the gas stored in Austria is for domestic consumption because gas for Slovenia and Germany is stored in Austria. 

According to ORF, Austria recorded 77 TWh of gas in storage on October 2nd. Last winter, Austria’s gas consumption from October 2021 to March 2022 was around 65 TWh.

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