Taking inspiration from Germany – how your business can reduce its power consumption


It’s no secret that Germany is the leading economic and political power of the EU, as well as being one of the world’s economic leaders. From manufacturing big name car brands like BMW and Volkswagen, to household electronic goods from Bosch, as well as being home to the insurance and financial giant Allianz, Germany is cornering a lot of markets. And while Germany continues to increase its efficiency, they’re leading the way in reducing power consumption too.

Germany’s primary energy has fallen in recent years due to a decline in coal consumption. The fall in consumption was due to rising renewable energy generation, through the increase in the use of natural gas in power generation, as well as harnessing wind power. Under the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive, all member countries should achieve 20% renewables, and businesses can start to save by utilising renewable energy sources. The use of solar power can immediately reduce power consumption without compromising on production levels.

It’s estimated that by 2030, electricity consumption will have grown by more than 70% compared with current levels. Businesses can drastically decrease their energy consumption through metering and monitoring. Companies like RS Components provide timers that can create monitoring systems for electrical consumption. Effective metering and monitoring gives business owners and operators crucial information about how their buildings are performing. This can then help deliver substantial and almost immediate improvements.

Updating outdated technology will save energy. By switching to highly efficient appliances, businesses are able to save on their energy consumption and increase productivity. Whilst there is an initial up front cost, the years of use will result in significant savings. Not only in terms of power consumption, but on potential man-hours spent fixing problems with outdated or slow equipment.

Use landscaping to protect your building. Germany’s Sustainable Building Council is helping to raise public awareness of the necessity of sustainable building and demonstrate that it is achievable. And one of the easiest, and cheapest ways a business can reduce its environmental impact, is to work with the environment – not against it. By using clever landscaping through planting shady trees outside your building, you can protect it from intense sun during summers and cold winds during winter. The leaves will protect your office from the sun’s rays, resulting in lower air conditioning use during the summer. While the windbreak the trees will cause in winter will reduce the need for extra heating. 

Implementing flexible working increases employee productivity. It’s no secret that flexible working makes employees more efficient and happier. But it can also have a positive impact on energy consumption too. If your industry allows, when you let employees work from home there’ll be fewer people in the office, meaning less lighting and cooling will be required. Advancing technology allows employees to take advantage of flexible work arrangements. It’s worth noting, that in Germany, workers have the right to reduce their weekly working hours, and around 39% of businesses enable employees to work from home.

Long heralded as the epitome of efficiency, even German lexicon is filled with useful nouns like: Backpfeifengesicht – “A face that begs to be slapped” and Erbsenzähler – “Someone who is obsessed with details and a bit of a control freak.” Straight-talkingand straight to the point, efficient and succinct. It’s these attributes that have contributed to the country’s economical and energy-reducing success, and businesses looking for inspiration should certainly look to Germany as the country continues to pave the way.