Berlin: Germany should forgo its tradition of Christmas lighting in cities and private households this year due to the energy crisis, an environment advocacy group said.
“This winter, it should be a matter of course to do without Christmas lights in cities as well as in houses and apartments,” Juergen Resch, managing director of Environmental Action Germany (DUH), told local media Monday.
Christmas lights in private households in Germany alone consumed as much electricity as a city of 400,000 inhabitants within an entire year.
In view of the Russia-Ukraine war and the resulting energy shortage, as well as for reasons of climate protection, “we should pause for a moment”, Resch said.
The German government has already adopted several energy-saving measures to avoid blackouts and gas shortages during winter.
Maximum room temperatures in public buildings and workplaces have been lowered, while monuments such as the Brandenburg Gate in the capital Berlin are no longer illuminated.
Driven by skyrocketing energy prices, inflation in Europe’s largest economy climbed to record levels of 7.9 per cent in August, according to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis).
Energy prices increased more than four times as fast “despite relief measures”.
Private households in Germany will not be legally obliged to lower room temperatures, but tenants are free to do so as long as no damage is caused to the building.
Clauses in rental contracts that require minimum room temperatures have been suspended.
“Policymakers, businesses and consumers must continue to work together to avoid an energy emergency this winter,” the German government said when adopting the measures, stressing that “every kilowatt-hour saved helps”.
Although the regulations for Germany’s famous Christmas markets have not yet been imposed, DUH chief Resch suggested that communities and cities should only have one lit tree each.
“Consciously refraining at this point, saving and showing solidarity, could make this Christmas season a very special one.”
Cologne’s major Christmas markets, which have traditionally attracted millions of visitors from around the world, have announced plans to reduce lighting.
“The aim is to save as much energy as possible in order to make a contribution … to energy security,” the city said last week.