Exclusive: Europeans dial down the heating, heed calls to save energy

According to data, Europeans have turned down their heating this winter, apparently heeding government instructions to do so amid the Ukraine conflict. Some have delayed turning it on by nearly a month and decreased the temperature.

The data reveals that as temperatures plummeted, consumers reacted to ominous signals about rising heating expenses. The data comes from hundreds of thousands of smart thermometers put in homes throughout the continent by Munich-based startup Tado.

Such intelligent thermometers are becoming more popular among individuals and organisations in Europe as a way to monitor their gas usage. To balance demand and lower peak prices, these are occasionally tied to the tariff structure of an energy provider. In new construction, Germany has made them mandatory.

On November 28, 2021–2022, 90% of households in Europeans had their heating on for the upcoming winter. According to statistics from Tado, one of several businesses working in the quickly expanding smart thermometer market, in the previous three years, that threshold was crossed weeks early, on November 7, 12, and 5 consecutively.

German government agencies lowered the temperature to a cold 19 degrees in their workplaces. Staff members received blankets to cover themselves in at the university in Frankfurt a der Oder, close to the Polish border.

Data from Tado reveals how households also made savings.

Based on the data, home heating settings were generally about a degree lower this winter than in previous years.

Energy authorities are less concerned about the prospects for Europeans gas supply after a frenetic year.

After advising users to make significant cuts to avoid catastrophic disruption, German network regulator Klaus Mueller said on Tuesday: “We are very, very optimistic that we will no longer have to worry about a gas shortage this winter.”

Gas accounts for 22% of Europe’s energy consumption and 32% of residential energy needs, according to the European Union, which imports 80% of its gas.

However, there have been significant efforts to expand imports from Europeans suppliers of gas like Norway and the Netherlands and decrease dependency on Russian gas, and Germany has developed LNG terminals swiftly.

As a result of a rush to fill storage, gas prices in Europe have decreased significantly since their August peak.

Dutch terrorism

Since Tado records the target temperatures that homeowners set, the data, which is based on readings from 340,000 cloud-connected smart thermometers throughout Europe, is relatively resilient to changing weather conditions over the four winters it examined.

These display regional differences as well as a distinct trend. In comparison to a year earlier, Dutch households decreased their target temperatures by 0.99 degrees Celsius on average, while Spanish consumers decreased their aims by 0.29 degrees.

While just 47% of Tado-connected homes in gas-rich Norway did so, 79.6% of homes there did so. Both Norway and Britain had a reduction in temperature of 0.2 and 1 degrees Celsius, respectively, to 20.8 and 18.3 degrees, respectively.

Billions of euros have been allocated by European countries, particularly Germany, to help individuals and businesses deal with their high energy costs.

Tado has placed three million thermometers, but only those thermostats that have been in the same location for four years straight can be compared. Only roughly 10% of them can therefore be used in the data.

There is a “wealth effect” as well. The demographic where the thermometers are installed is fairly diverse in Western Europe.

In eastern European nations, where smart thermostats are more common in wealthier homes, the data is less representative. Customers of Tado decreased their thermostat settings by 0.28% on average in Bulgaria.

According to Christian Deilmann, managing director of Tado, “heating and hot water use about 79% of the energy consumed in a single home.” “The key thing is to have the heating and hot water under control; the TV, cooking, and lighting aren’t that important.”

German officials are concerned that the current drop in gas prices may cause consumers to become less concerned with energy conservation. Tado’s statistics cannot yet be used to infer whether household energy management is deteriorating.

The German regulator Mueller stated in a tweet on Tuesday that “we must begin planning for 2023/24.” “We need to maintain using less gas, be more energy efficient, develop renewable energy sources, and fill up storage.”

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