In the 41 million households, room heating accounts for around two thirds of the energy consumption, while the other third is used to produce hot water and to power the domestic appliances. Although the average household consumption of final energy has fallen in Germany over recent years, a lot still remains to be done: the majority of older buildings do not satisfy current energy standards and frequently require up to five times as much energy for heating and hot water than a modern efficient house. Another factor is the rising number of small households: three quarters of people in Germany already live in two-person households or alone. Besides the rising number of apartments that require heating, there is also an increasing prevalence of large devices such as refrigerators or washing machines in operation. What’s more, many households are lavishly equipped with consumer electronics, for instance computers or TV sets. It is possible that the current development in energy prices will lead to a greater focus on savings potential.
One thing is certain: energy-efficient technologies and their conscious use in everyday routines can profitably reduce energy consumption without surrendering any quality of life. On the contrary, refurbishment measures even help increase home comforts while achieving energy savings of up to 80 percent.
Current projections indicate that around one third of electricity consumption, or 40 terawatt hours, could be saved in a domestic setting. This is equivalent to the annual requirements of ten million four-person households.
Raising awareness and informing private households
dena helps private households to become more aware of how energy can be used economically in a domestic setting. For instance, its campaign“The Building Transition”provides information on the savings that can be achieved with energy-efficient refurbishments such as thermal insulation, the installation of new windows or upgrading to a more efficient heating system, also combined with renewable energy sources. In many cases, simple measures in everyday life can also make a noticeable difference. Owners and tenants will find an overview of the services provided by dena to help save heating costs in the building sections and on the dena page"zukunft haus" ("future house").
With the 'Initiative EnergieEffizienz' (Energy Efficiency Campaign), dena has been providing information on how personal electricity consumption can be made more efficient since 2002. Besides clear tips on the efficient use of electricity in everyday life, interactive guides also help consumers assess their personal situations and the question of what they can actively do.
For instance, the“Electricity savings check”calculates the energy consumption of individual domestic appliances and provides recommended courses of action. A Top Device database also offers meaningful information on the purchase prices and the electricity consumption costs of the latest domestic appliances. The BINE funding search tool allows visitors to search for funding programmes for private households, for instance in order to purchase energy-efficient A+++ devices.
Other consulting services for consumers
In addition to dena, there are other organisations that offer advice on energy efficiency in private households. They include:
- www.deutschland-machts-effizient.de – The efficiency campaign by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy provides clear information on how savings are possible in everyday life, at home, in the company and also for municipalities.
- Consumer advice centres – interested persons can call a free hotline to arrange an appointment in one of the approximately 670 advice centres.
- Stromspar-Check (Electricity Savings Check) by Caritas and the Bundesverband der Energie- und Klimaschutzagenturen Deutschlands (eaD), Federal association for Germany’s Energy and Climate Protection Agencies, – free advice for recipients of German jobseeker’s allowance, social welfare and housing benefits; analysis of electricity consumption and installation of devices to help reduce consumption. The article on the Electricity Savings Check contains more information on this topic.
- Regional energy and climate protection agencies – free initial consultation; a lending service for ammeters; information on qualified energy consultants.