By Jan Lopatka
PRAGUE (Reuters) – Turning lights off, turning off the heat and installing motion detectors are among the ways central European governments are saving energy as part of efforts to cut costs and avoid shortages in the upcoming heating season to address disruptions to gas supplies from Russia. .
Central Europe is at risk of confrontation with Russia, with some countries still dependent on Russian gas and all facing rising electricity prices across the continent.
The Czech government announced Thursday that it has dismantled half of the light bulbs in the government office and replaced the remaining old bulbs with less consuming LED sources. She was installing motion sensors to dim the lights in the corridors and turn off the ceremonial floodlights of a 19th-century downtown Prague building.
Prime Minister Peter Fiala said heating – usually around 22C (71.6F) or even warmer in Czech offices – has been reduced to 19-20C inside the government building, and to 15C (59F) in the corridors.
“I will mainly put pressure on state institutions to lead by example,” Fiala told reporters. “We have adopted a package of measures… to save between 17% and 20% of the energy needed,” he said.
The presidential office said it would turn down heating and turn off floodlights in Prague’s famous castle and cathedral at 10 p.m. instead of midnight, while the Industry Ministry reduced the number of refrigerators in use, among other measures.
In Hungary, the government has ordered state institutions and companies to reduce gas consumption by 25% compared to the previous year, with the exception of hospitals and social institutions.
Parliament said earlier this month that the lights would also go out in the Romanian Parliament Palace, the second largest building in the world after the US Department of Defense (Pentagon). Outdoor lighting will be reduced by half and festive lighting will be reduced to two hours per night.
The Polish government has instructed its various branches to reduce electricity consumption by 10%.
After work, administrators must turn off their computers and disconnect chargers, and can only print necessary documents. At the Ministry of Finance, the fountain was turned off and the building’s lighting was limited to only two hours on weekends.
Warsaw is also replacing about 38,000 lamps in street lamps with LEDs.
These savings and various national cost limits and other support measures may still be insufficient in places where heating or cooling is a large part of operations, such as universities or sports stadiums.
Slovak universities have warned that they will enroll in online education if the government does not provide more funding by mid-November.
In the Czech Republic, a survey of more than 500 sports clubs showed that 61% of those using indoor playgrounds such as swimming pools, ice rinks, gyms or inflatable halls faced an “existential threat” as their energy costs had already increased by 135% .