Using energy more efficiently

The efficient use of electricity, heat and fuel saves money, increases security of supply and protects the climate. Germany has to import a large proportion of its sources of energy. Imports have risen to almost two thirds of total energy demand, up from around 50 percent in the 1970s. This is why energy efficiency, along with the development of renewable energy, is a pillar of the Energiewende.

People in Germany have become more aware of the importance of energy efficiency over the course of several decades. The first global oil crisis in 1973 was a major incentive. It showed Germans how dependent they were on fossil fuels. The German Government responded by launching an information campaign on energy saving and setting a speed limit on the motorways. Since then, many further laws have been passed and energy-efficiency measures have been successfully implemented. These measures comprise three main elements: targeted funding, information and guidance, and binding targets for reducing energy consumption.

The very best kilowatt hour is the one we don’t use.

Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor

The strategy is working – Germany’s energy demand has fallen since 1990, although its gross domestic product has risen significantly. German industry now consumes over ten percent less energy than it did in the past, but has doubled its output. Technical advances allow households and companies to use energy more efficiently. Modern domestic appliances use up to 75 percent less electricity than comparable appliances of 15 years ago. Changes in daily habits also save energy. For this reason, tens of thousands of energy consultants conduct energy audits all over Germany; show tenants, home owners and companies ways of saving energy; and inform people about the state funding programmes.

All EU member states have agreed to reduce their primary energy consumption by 20 percent by 2020 and by at least 27 percent by 2030. Germany is seeking to halve its total energy consumption in the long term, reflecting its commitments under the Paris Agreement.