With the contribution of the LIFE programme of the European Union - LIFE17 ENV/GR/000215 and  the co-financing of Green Fund, Greece

The European Commission and the IEA Outline Key Energy Saving Actions

The International Energy Agency and the European Commission have outlined a range of simple steps that people can take to reduce their energy use and save money, and that would save enough oil to fill 120 super tankers and enough natural gas to heat almost 20 million homes if adopted by all EU residents.

These actions, designed to help Ukraine by cutting the EU’s reliance on Russian fuel, and also to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, were presented and discussed by IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol and European Commission Director-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jørgensen during a live-streamed virtual event with a host of figures from government and civil society.

People across Europe have helped Ukraine by making donations or aiding refugees directly, and many would like to do more. Most households are also experiencing higher energy bills because of the energy crisis, exacerbated by the war. Using less energy is not only an immediate way for EU residents to reduce their bills, but it also supports Ukraine by reducing the need for Russian oil and gas, thereby helping to reduce the revenue streams funding the invasion.

The actions in the plan draw on the IEA’s recent 10-Point Plan to Reduce the European Union’s Reliance on Russian Natural Gas and 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use. The latest plan – Playing my part: How to save money, reduce reliance on Russian energy, support Ukraine and help the planet – shows how local and national governments can work with residents to unlock even more savings. By following all recommendations in the plan, the typical EU household could save, on average, close to EUR 500 a year, though the amounts would vary depending on the household’s size, location and access to public transport. If all EU residents were to follow the recommendations at home and in their workplace, it would save 220 million barrels of oil a year and around 17 billion cubic metres of natural gas.

The steps most aligned with transport are:

Use your car more economically (No.4)

Most car trips in the European Union are made with just a single occupant. Pooling your car journeys with neighbours, friends or colleagues saves fuel and money. Setting your car’s air conditioning 3°C warmer will also immediately improve the car’s fuel economy. These combined actions could save your household around EUR 100 per year.

Leave your car at home on Sunday in large cities (No.6)

Leaving your car at home for short journeys, especially if it is a large car, saves a significant amount of fuel. On average, around a third of car journeys in the European Union are less than 3 kilometres. By using other means of transport, you’ll help reduce air pollution and congestion in your area and potentially improve your health. And you can save money – over EUR 55 per household every year potentially – by walking, cycling or using micromobility (such as an electric scooter) for short journeys. Fourteen EU countries have at least one tax-incentive or purchase subsidy for bikes or electric bikes.

 

Walk or bike short journeys instead of driving (No.7)

If you can commute to work on public transport rather than driving your car, it’s worth doing so to reduce oil consumption. The spare capacity on public transport during peak travel periods differs depending on the system, and on the country and city. However, there is typically spare capacity in off‐peak periods that can be used to “spread out” the peak if employers allow flexible working hours. Public authorities can play an important role through temporary incentives to reduce fares for public buses, metro systems and light rail.

Use public transport (No.8)

If you can commute to work on public transport rather than driving your car, it’s worth doing so to reduce oil consumption. The spare capacity on public transport during peak travel periods differs depending on the system, and on the country and city. However, there is typically spare capacity in off‐peak periods that can be used to “spread out” the peak if employers allow flexible working hours. Public authorities can play an important role through temporary incentives to reduce fares for public buses, metro systems and light rail.

Skip the plane, take the train (No.9)

For distances under 1,000 km, high-speed trains provide a high-quality substitute for flying. Consider taking a train rather than a plane whenever practical and affordable. Employers should encourage train journeys instead of short-haul flights for employees’ business travel or promote virtual meetings instead of travelling. Night trains are an option for travelling even longer distances and have the advantage of spreading traffic across different times of the day. Based on existing high-speed rail infrastructure, just under 5% of plane journeys in the European Union could be done by train instead, including both leisure and business travel.

Other measures include turning down heating and using less air-conditioning, adjust boiler temperature, work from home and reducing speed on highways.

Source: Eltis