What are Swiss cities planning to do to save energy this winter?

What are Swiss cities planning to do to save energy this winter?

After the government released its plan for how people in Switzerland can save energy this winter, businesses, cities and cantons have started to reveal how they plan to help conserve power. Here’s what we know so far:

What are Swiss cities going to do to save power this winter?

In a statement given to SRF last Tuesday, the Swiss Association of Cities - the umbrella organisation for city governments - said that it supported the Federal Council’s efforts to reduce power consumption in order to help avoid blackouts this winter. As part of the statement, the association released a list of saving measures they hoped cities would follow:

  • Reducing the heating in public buildings (schools, administrative buildings, childcare facilities and sporting venues) by two degrees Celsius, and by four degrees in public transport
  • Reducing or stopping the heating of empty offices and meeting rooms
  • Reducing the amount of hot water allowed in administrative buildings, or only allowing cold water
  • Complete shutdown of electronic devices in administrative buildings, schools, etc after working hours
  • Switching off unnecessary lights (neon signs, Christmas lights)
  • Lowering the heating of indoor pools by two degrees

The association said that it wanted all cities in the alpine nation to adhere to these measures voluntarily before the threat of government-enforced restrictions become a reality.

Bern to lower the temperature in public buildings

The first to acknowledge the report was the city of Bern, with Safety, Energy and Environment Director Reto Nause announcing that the de-facto capital of Switzerland would be following all the association’s recommendations. "Reducing the room temperature by two degrees means energy savings of twelve percent - that's what we'll certainly implement," he noted.

The city will also be lowering the temperature of water in administrative buildings and swimming pools. Finally, the city confirmed that it would not light any historic sites or public buildings at night, although did not confirm whether this would include Christmas lights.

Basel to reduce the heating in schools

Basel soon followed suit, announcing that it would lower the temperature in all public buildings. This reduction would also include primary and secondary schools, a spokesperson from the city council told SRF.

In the city of Zug, "When the heating season begins, the temperature in schools and administration buildings is reduced by two degrees - regardless of whether a shortage occurs," Head of the Social Affairs, Environment and Safety Department, Urs Raschle told SRF. In a first for cities in Switzerland, he said that, "We will largely do without Christmas lights on municipal properties."

Zurich, Geneva and Basel to decide on whether to restrict Christmas lights

Kreuzlingen, near the German city of Konstanz, also said that it was discussing switching off its Christmas lights in certain districts or at certain times. The Mayor of Kreuzlingen, Thomas Niederberger, noted: "if we can do something about the power shortage with simple means, then we should do it." According to 20 minuten, Zurich, Basel, Lucerne and St. Gallen are all expected to announce whether their Christmas lights will shine this winter after the autumn school holidays.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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