Simple actions to save energy in Europe could cut the equivalent natural gas usage of the volumes via the Nord Stream-1 pipeline that transports Russian gas to Europe, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Thursday.
The European Commission and IEA leaders said savings of approximately €450 per year could be made by using less energy, which would reduce energy bills for Europeans, cut reliance on Russian fossil fuels, demonstrate solidarity with the Ukrainian people and support climate action.
The IEA and European Commission leaders, through a public discussion webinar entitled 'Playing my part: How to save money, reduce reliance on Russian energy, support Ukraine and help the planet', want to raise European citizens' awareness of the benefits of energy savings and the importance of putting energy efficiency at the heart of planning and investments.
The new IEA analysis in coordination with the European Commission identified actions that companies and national and local governments can take to support consumer action and unlock even more energy savings.
Speaking at the opening of the webinar, IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol advocated for energy efficiency and regulatory measures in Europe in a bid to become more independent from Russian supplies as the world goes through what Birol described as the 'the first global energy crisis'.
'Just simple steps would save enough natural gas equal to the Nord Stream-1, the biggest pipeline bringing Russian gas to Europe,' he said.
The analysis recommended that turning down heating by just 1°C could save around 7% of the energy used for heating. For every degree, the analysis said savings of up to €70 from an annual energy bill could be made.
Setting the air conditioner to 1°C warmer could reduce the amount of electricity used by almost 10% and save €20 a year.
Adjusting the boiler's temperature could save up to 8% of the energy used to heat rooms and water if you have a condensing boiler. Setting up a boiler properly could save around €100 each year.
Working from home three days a week could reduce household bills by around €35 a month while using a car more economically could save households €100 per year.
Reducing speed on highways, car-free Sundays in large cities, walking or biking short journeys instead of driving, using public transport, skipping the plane and taking the train are among the simple but effective actions to reduce reliance on Russia and bills, according to the analysis.
The roundtable discussion was hosted by Birol and the European Commission Director-General for Energy Ditte Juul Jorgensen with the participation of several EU ministers.
Birol used the example of the oil crisis in the 1970s which not only led to a surge in inflation and harmed economic growth but also gave a big boost in energy efficiency worldwide in the transportation and household sectors.
If all EU citizens were to follow the recommendations at home and in their workplace, it would save 220 million barrels of oil a year, which is enough to fill 120 supertankers and around 17 billion cubic meters of gas, which is enough to heat almost 20 million homes.
By Nuran Erkul Kaya