What are Swiss cities doing to save energy?
On August 31st, the Federal Council announced its recommendations for cutting energy consumption. Some Swiss cities have already responded to the appeal.
The government’s new campaign, aimed at preventing energy shortages during the cold season, is aptly called “Energy is limited. Let’s not waste it”.
The plan outlines several simple measures that can, if everyone follows them, stave off shortages and prevent power outages and blackouts.
“The objective is to encourage the widest possible participation, so that Switzerland does not find itself in a shortage situation”, the Federal Council pointed out.
While all individuals and businesses are urged to comply with the with easy-to-implement recommendations, municipalities big and small are also coming onboard for the campaign, so it can bear fruit — that is, reach the objective of cutting Switzerland’s gas consumption by 15 percent from October until the end of March, when the weather tends to be coldest.
The Swiss Association of Cities voiced its support for the government’s recommendations, and a few municipalities have already taken voluntary measures. Although neither Zurich nor Geneva have revealed what steps they will take to follow the federal recommendations, they are expected to do so soon.
These three cities have already committed to follow the government’s call:
The city will lower the room temperature by two degrees in administration buildings, which will result in energy savings of 12 percent – "that's what we'll certainly implement", said Reto Nause, director for Bern’s Safety, Environment and Energy.
In addition, the water temperature in administration buildings and municipal swimming pools will be lowered, "and the lighting in historic buildings will be dispensed with".
The temperature in all public administration offices will be reduced to 19 degrees.
“This room temperature also applies to public schools from the first secondary level, with the exception of kindergartens and primary schools", city officials said.
Similar measures will be introduced in Zug as well.
"When the heating season begins, the temperature in schools and administration buildings is reduced by two degrees, regardless of whether a shortage occurs," according to Urs Raschle, head of the Social Affairs, Environment and Safety Department.
Also,"we will largely do without Christmas lights on the municipal properties".
More Swiss cities are expected to join the campaign soon, but as each municipality determines its own measures, some could be more far-reaching than others.
That’s because "the cities are very different in terms of their size and how they are supplied with energy", said Anders Stokolm, president of the Swiss Association of Cities.