Policy-makers are calling for oil and electricity to be used ever more efficiently. But scientists say that measures like banning light bulbs and home insulation are as good as useless to help reduce energy consumption.
The family of Karl-Günther Lohas is the dream of Germany’s energy policy: The teacher from Stuttgart has replaced all light bulbs, from the cellar to the attic, with LED lights long before the ban against light bulbs goes into effect in September. He has rendered harmless the energy-consuming stand-by mode of the TV with a timer and invested in a new refrigerator with an efficiency rating of A Triple Plus.
Insulation? Of course! Heat pump? That’s a matter of honour! The Lohas’ washing machines only runs at 30 degrees Celsius: the laundry is almost as clean as in energy-guzzling 40 degrees. Compared to before, the Lohas family now saves 300 Euros per year in energy costs.
According to the federal government, soon all Germans should live like the fictional energy-saving champion from Stuttgart. After all, the government’s scenarios regarding the nuclear phase-out and the targets for green electricity are based on the assumption that Germany’s electricity consumption can be reduced by a total of ten percent by 2020.
By 2030 a reduction of 25 percent should be achieved, although by then the majority of car traffic is supposed to be electrified. And of course, Germany is Europe’s model pupil who wants to meet the regulation targets of the European Commission, i.e. the reduction of the total primary energy consumption, including oil, gas and coal, by 20 percent by then.