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German Consumer Advice Center Provides Tips on Saving Energy for Expats

In this energy crisis, it is good to have to some guidance. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the consumer advice center even offers it in English. A brochure published for expatriates teaches us that electricity is expensive. The good news: This valuable advice is free.

Berlin, October 20th, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — Exploding energy costs make us think twice when we turn on the lights or the heating. Most of us are wondering how we can save energy effectively, in order to prevent our wallets from being sucked empty. Now, there finally is the advice we have been waiting for. Germany’s Consumer Advice Center is providing it. The authority’s division in North Rhine-Westphalia is even giving away a brochure in English.

Average Temperature

The editors in Düsseldorf spared no efforts and covered every angle of our lives in their publication “Save Energy at Home – Cheap, Good and Healthy Housing”. Those of us who do not speak or understand the language of Goethe and Schiller learn that “heating, hot water and electricity are very expensive in Germany”. Really? “If you need less energy, you will save a lot of money and protect the climate.” Splendid.

The brochure says we should heat our homes once the average temperature (day and night combined) is at 8 degrees Centigrade (46.4 degrees Fahrenheit) or lower. “We need to heat when it is cold outside.” Are you sure? They seem to be. “We normally heat between October and April.” Right. And how do we know what the average temperature is? It does not say.

Mould and Ventilation

“Use only the heater for heating”, we are told. What about the toaster? “Heating is expensive. Heaters that need electricity are particularly expensive. These heaters have a power cable.” Finally someone confirms our suspicion. They actually have cables. What a relief. “Get advice if you have this kind of heating.” Isn’t that what you are giving us? The brochure can be a little confusing, but it does help.

There are many things we can learn. We are not supposed to dry clothes on the heater. Another no-go is placing our sofa right in front of it. We should ventilate our place when we cook, take showers or dry laundry, but turn off the heating first. Maybe we could try doing all three things simultaneously, and cut our toenails while we are at it. Apparently, we are not only in a fight against high heating bills, but also against mould. The devil comes in many forms.

Freezing Cold

By the way: “If the refrigerator or freezer is too cold, you will pay a lot of money.” The moment we thought we had understood that colder is cheaper, we are told freezing cold actually is expensive. Another few pages further south it says “cold water is cheap – hot water is expensive.” Alright.

To be fair: The brochure’s authors wanted to keep the language simple, to make sure even our editor understands that dishes need to be washed in the sink. How about not washing them at all?

The brochure entitled “Saving Energy at Home” by Germany’s Consumer Advice Center can be found here.

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