German city bans hot water in public buildings — Analysis

People attending gyms and pools in Hannover will only have access to cold showers as part of the city’s energy saving campaign

Hannover in Germany took drastic measures to lower energy consumption, as the country is facing an energy crisis. As part of an energy-saving campaign, the city authorities cut hot water to public buildings and lowered maximum heating temperatures.

Hannover authorities gave the city’s sports enthusiasts the cold shower – quite literally – on Monday when they announced hot water would be switched off in all of the city’s public buildings, including sports halls, gyms, and pools from now on. Under the new rules, public employees must also wash their hands with coldwater while on duty.

The city’s residents will also have to brace for colder temperatures while indoors. According to the new rules the maximum temperature indoors in public buildings (including day-care centers) is now limited at 20 degrees Celsius. In sports halls and gyms, it cannot exceed 15 degrees Celsius – a list of regulations published on the official city website says.

Also, the upcoming winter heating season for municipal buildings was set between October 1, 2022 and March 31, 2023. “Outside of the period, heating is generally no longer provided,”The authorities issued a warning. Others included the shutdown of public fountains, external lights, for city museums and town hall, as well as other measures.

Germans forced to ration hot water – media

These measures came as part of a city campaign to cut energy consumption by 15% in preparation for winter supply disruptions. City officials stated that they prefer to be prepared than just react to situations when gas is scarce. 

“We have to get ahead of the situation,” the city’s Finance and Regulatory Affairs Officer Axel von der Ohe said. On Wednesday, Hannover Mayor Belit Onay informed journalists that “every kilowatt hour saved protects the gas storage facilities.”

Hannover isn’t the only German city that has taken precautions ahead of winter. According to Bild, the city of Dusseldorf will reduce its heating temperature for winter and autumn in order to conserve energy.

German media also reported in July that Germans have reduced the time they spend showering amid repeated calls for austerity from government. Robert Habeck, German Economy Minister, Vice-Chancellor, has called on people to reduce their use of saunas, heating and showers in order to decrease Russia’s dependence.

Germany has been bracing for an energy crisis as the EU attempts to reduce the bloc’s reliance on Russian energy amid a standoff over Moscow’s military action in Ukraine. Gas prices have nearly quadrupled this year, primarily due to a shrinking flow from Russia, the continent’s major supplier.

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