Greece announced on Wednesday a new initiative to reduce public sector energy use by 10 percent this year by offering financial incentives for those who comply and urging government workers to turn off electricity upon leaving office spaces.
Greek Environment and Energy Minister Costas Skrekas said the government wants to reduce energy consumption from the public sector by 30 percent by 2030.
Skrekas said officials would make recommendations to businesses and homeowners in the following days, according to a report by the Associated Press.
“We are asking everyone working in the public sector to see that there is no pointless use of energy in their workspace,” the minister said during a press conference in Athens. “At the end of the working day, when employees leave they must ensure that their computers are switched off, together with lights and other appliances that are not in use.”
Leaders throughout Europe have encouraged citizens to cut down on energy consumption in anticipation of a gas shortage during the winter due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
Compared to other EU countries, Greece depends less on gas imports from Russia while mainly buying it from Azerbaijan and North Africa.
Greece has created a digital platform to monitor the public sector’s energy use, Skrekas said. The government will offer funding for those who follow its recommendations — including bonuses for over-performing branches — whereas those who do not meet savings targets will face cuts.
The government will appoint an energy supervisor in every public sector building to enforce compliance, Skrekas said.
Measures will include adjusting temperature settings for “reasonable use,” leaving windows open overnight to cool office spaces and performing regular maintenance on air conditioning and heating units.
Officials are urging municipalities to cut back on decorative nighttime lighting of buildings and change time schedules for street lights.
On September 12, Greece will also launch a 640 million euro program called “Ilektra” to provide energy upgrades for 26.9 million square feet of public buildings.
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