What can U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach community members do to reduce energy and what can you expect this winter?
Many of you have noticed that the weather in our part of Germany has made a transition from late summer warmth to cooler fall-like temperatures.
Just as they were last heating season, the Garrison radiators have now been turned on. But, this heating season may prove to be more challenging than winters past. Our building heat/hot water radiators are powered by natural gas with a large portion of it (around 40%) formerly coming from Russia via natural gas pipelines like the Nord Stream pipeline. As a result of the loss of this Russian-supplied energy, the German government has recommended a 15% (initial) reduction in natural gas consumption. While this reduction is voluntary at this point, that could change in the future. As guests in Germany, we should do our part to conserve all types of energy including electricity, water, motor fuel as well as natural gas. The more that we can reduce and conserve now, the easier it will be for all of us if deeper reductions are called for later in the winter.
Of course, much will depend upon how cold this winter gets in our area. The Garrison Directorate of Public Works, working with our German utility providers, has recently made some slight adjustments to hot water temperatures that can affect interior building temperatures. Lowering the radiator hot water temperatures by 1-3 degrees C may create a noticeably chillier feel to the temperatures inside homes and workplaces. In addition, water temperatures from showers and taps may be lowered by a few degrees but still be safe and comfortable.
As we prepare for the onset of winter, here are some simple things to do to get ready to do your part so that we can all have a safe heating season:
- Keep your radiator or thermostat turned down. DPW recommends a setting of 2 to keep things comfortable while you are at home and a setting of 1 or * (the snowflake on most German radiators) while away.
- Immediately report radiator or other heating unit malfunctions. A malfunctioning radiator wastes extra energy.
- Make sure you’re using LED or other low energy consumption type light bulbs.
- Make sure you turn off non-essential lights (in rooms not actively being used, or make use of timed motion sensors).
- Get ready to put on extra clothing or an extra blanket…even inside. Keep your space a little on the cool side.
- Take care to minimize drafts from open doors and windows as heat quickly escapes through them.
- Practice good humidity control by opening a window for (only) a few minutes a day. A humid room will feel colder. Be sure to turn off the radiator while the window is open.
- Minimize long, hot showers by lowering the temperature, water pressure and keeping shower time to 5 minutes or less. Take short showers instead of baths.
- Use cold water instead of hot for most activities.
- Don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth or washing dishes in the sink.
- Make sure washing machines and dishwashers are full before using them.
- Unplug un-needed or seldom used appliances like extra fridges or water coolers.
- Avoid the use of electric space heaters.
Here is a link to additional energy saving ideas by the International Energy Agency:
If we all do our part, we can make this Winter a safe and comfortable one.