People who want to save tax start by saving energy


  1. What's on this page?
  2. Office & Computer
  3. Environmental madness in the office
  4. House & apartment
  5. Domestic appliances
  6. Invisible heating costs
  7. Liquid gas consumers
  8. Heating oil users
  9. Traffic
  10. Water consumption
  11. Other energy-saving links


1. What's on this page?

We tell you about some ways to save money at home and in the workplace.
Some you can take advantage of right away: the Dishwasher or the Water heater.
Where is the first place to look for savings?
Why not begin with the devices using the most energy?!
These include heating and hot water (together 89%).
So you don't save a lot with a solar collector system: (only 2/3 of 12%).
Priority Device Energy consumption
without cars [%]
Energy consumption
with cars [%]
1 Car50...60% of the oil pumped is burned by car drivers. 30
2 Heating77 53
3 Hot water12 8
4 Washing9 8
5 Lighting2 1
[Source: Initiative Erdgas 1999]
Tax savings are also an incentive:

  • Every euro you spend in Germany includes 16% sales tax!
  • Every litre of heating oil and cubic meter of gas you economize, saves you twice as much: the tax on oil and the sales tax charged on the oil tax.
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2. Office & Computer

All PCs consume power - even when they are not being used!
Your consumption of electricity produces heat (e.g. your computer) whether you need it or not - but it costs four(!!) times as much as oil and gas. Here is an idea for recycling this heat to keep your feet warm.
Device Consumption
Annual heating work
Annual elec. costs
Modern PC 130 286 45.76
19" Monitor CRT 90 198 31.68
19" Monitor LCD 35 77 12.32
Device with powerpack 10 87.5 14.02
Total incl. CRT 230 571.5 90.70

Basis: PC and monitor switched on 10 hours for 220 days, a peripheral device for 24h.
Electicity cost 2006: 19 Ct/kWh

How to run a PC at lower cost
  • Make sure you buy a PC powerpack which delivers high efficiency whatever the load.
    This means an efficieny close to 80%. For more details... Extra office heating arising from these power losses.
  • LCD monitors consume 40% less than CRT monitors! (See table above.) Because with LCD monitors the whole area of the screen is used, you get more screen per inch.
  • From 1995, all PCs feature an energy-saving function, which you should always activate. This reduces the consumption of PC and monitor.
  • From 1998, the ON-switch of a PC can be used as a standby button. Set this way, you aonly have to press the button and your PC goes into sleep mode. A sensible thing to do!
  • All older PCs can be fitted with a switch which deactivates your monitor when nothing happens for 5 minutes. Cost: less than 25 euros.
Other devices, while not being used, eat your money too!

Don't make light of leaving your devices on!
If you knew the real cost of this you would be shocked:
Every Watt you wastefully burn per year burns 1.40 euro out of your pocket at the end of the year.
Generating a kilowatt hour of electricity costs twice as much as saving a kilowatt hour
(Source: EU Commission, Green Paper 2005), which also creates jobs.

Info: Any small power pack for an answering machine, mobile phone or modem uses 6...10 watts, adding up to 8.40...14 euros annually!

  • Why not check if fax devices need to be switched on round the clock. Sometimes its possible to integrate the fax receive function in a PC via ISDN card, which as a server is always running anyhow.
  • You should ask yourself if photocopiers, coffee machines and cold-drink dispensers need to be running all the time. Many of them have a button for energy-saving.
  • 5-liter water heaters installed under sinks should only heat warm water during office hours. Water heaters should be switched off evenings and at weekends via a timer with appropriate contacts. Even better is a time switch which you only activate when you are sure you want to have warm water in 5 minutes.
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3. Environmental madness in the office

Amazing, but true:
office space is actually used for only 5 % of the time of a full week.

Five-day weeks reduce this rate of use to 71 %, further decreased through vacation and public holidays to 63 %. The working day in offices is an average 8 hours: further reduction of the rate of use to 21 %. Breaks and absence through illness decrease the figure still further to 16 %, and, finally, due to "social and organization-related activities", we arrive at 5 %.
Office buildings swallow up landscapes and cost energy.
At the same time, mostly at a distance of some kilometers, you will find the residential areas, where the working population spends the night, completely unoccupied during the day. On top of this comes the daily environmentally crazy two-way motorized migration between workplace and residence. This brings me to the conclusion that we need to reorganize our world differently: it's time to examine whether the newly-available possibilities of telecommunication will not permit new work-related structures, which are both economically and environmentally appropriate.
This study was featured in the magazine "Mensch & Büro"
[Source: DEOWI Technibank, The Intelligent Building in Europe, März 1992].
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4. House and apartment

Keeping the warmth inside

  1. When it's windy, unwanted cold air entering through structural joints blows your warmth clean out of the house. Check your windows and electric sockets? - Yes, because when electric sockets are fitted, holes are drilled in the windproofing.
  2. Appropriate double-glazing allows reduction of heat losses by up to 40%.
  3. Electric heating is the most expensive kind of heating! To find out more, go to domestic appliances.
  4. Set the times for your heating and hot water precisely to the times you need them. You will find our questionnaire a help. Just print it out and fill it in and then set your timers accordingly. (..You have no timers? Then it's time you did. You will have saved the money you need to spend on the timers after one year at the latest.)
    Please don't forget the heating up and cooling down times specific to your house and system. Whether your controller is already taking care of that.
  5. Here you'll find basic understanding of heating costs.
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5. Domestic appliances

...are mostly good for 20 years

  1. When buying new appliances for the home you should take care to buy the appliance which consumes the least energy: energy costs are many times higher than the cost of purchasing the appliance in the first place.
  2. In 20 years, an appliance which consumes just one extra watt(!)hour, and is working 50% of the time, will cost you 13 euros more.
  3. Therefore, if you heat your water by gas or oil, it's worthwhile thinking about whether you should connect your dishwasher to the hot water directly (because of the different wash temperatures {30º/60º/90º}, this is not so practical in the case of your washing machine).
  4. If you use a lot of current, use it at the right time!
    A good argument for building new power stations is provided by high consumption at peak times. Try to avoid using your dish-washer and washing machine on weekdays at these times:
    • 9 am ... 1 pm
    • 5 pm ... 8 pm
  5. Locate freezers/refrigerator in a cool environment: the motor will run less and you will pay less electricity. (also less taxes..)
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6. Invisible heating costs

Heating costs you never notice

  1. The fridge, PC, and TV also produce heat, and this heat costs about six times as much as gas heating.
  2. Set your thermostat valves correctly:
    All thermostat valves include a special marking, corresponding to about 20 ºC. One extra degree costs an extra 6% heating costs. Correctly adjusted, your thermostat valve reduces throughput through the radiator and stops the room from continuing to heat up.
  3. In Germany, individual room control has become mandatory. Thermostat valves are fitted to almost all radiators. Your radiators will only function correctly if the quantities of water being pumped through them is correct.
    You can check the basic setting by turning the thermostat valve on fully on a cold, cloudy day: if the room temperature goes up to more than 22ºC, the inflow temperature is incorrectly set. Hissing noises at the valve will tell you that the pump pressure is giving you too much water. This will be confirmed later by the electricity company when they send you the bill.
  4. The off-peak operation of the heating system should be adjusted so that at most night-time temperatures the system is switched off.
  5. Treat your heating system (especially if it is an oil-fired system) to an annual clean and have it adjusted to optimum performance. As usual, money talks: a thin film of soot forms quickly and will cost you a packet.
  6. Ventilate rooms thoroughly for short periods. When heating, do not ventilate rooms with the windows permanently open. If you air a room for longer than 5 minutes, adjust the room temperature before by adjusting the regulator.
  7. Go here to see how you get high rooms warmer using a counter-rotating ceiling fan.
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7. Liquid gas consumers

..filling up your tank is now cheaper - and you are not tied down to a contract.

The September issue of the "Energiedepesche" (a specialist German periodical) published addresses of four companies which are selling fuel up to 50% cheaper than the "cartel suppliers". All consumers currently locked into agreements know about general over-pricing. According to a verdict handed down by the Oberlandesgericht Hamm, agreements over five or ten years are null and void, if they have not been negotiated. The customer can terminate such contracts with a period of notice of three months (although he is then obliged to meet the costs of the company's tank being picked up).
      For example, the "Bäuerliche Handelsgesellschaft BHG Agrarhandel" located in the lower Rhine area supplies customers in N.W.Germany without tying them down to a contract. This company is supplied directly from refineries and markets the gas, according to the season, at up to half the standard price in this sector. Also, free dealers who do not buy directly in Holland were offering prices between 37 and 48 pfennigs under the current "cartel price" of about 60 pfennigs per litre.
  1. BHG Agrarhandel 46569 Hünxe, Tel.: 02064-33110 for nordwest of Germany.
  2. Müller Flüssiggas 76356 Weingarten, Tel.: 07244-2331 for the region from Frankfurt to Passau.
  3. H&H Flüssiggas 86368 Gersthofen, Tel.: 0821-4530012 for Bavaria.
  4. KS-Gas 93444 Kötzting, Tel.: 09941-904769 south-east Bavaria.
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8. Heating oil users... the oil world market and buy at the right moment.

All forecasting techniques familiar from the stock market can be applied when buying your own oil if you know your way around the curves:-)
  1. Tecson went to a lot of trouble to present the current and last year's oil prices in a clear graph:
  2. If you wish, you can enquire and check out offers at European Marketplace for Heating Oil and get a lower price than elsewhere.
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9. Getting around

The goose that lays the golden eggs

  • Every kilometer we drive costs us 0.14 euros in tax alone!
  • The only way to save money and to protect the environment is to drive fewer kilometers by car.
  • Car-sharers save and can tell each other what's new.
  • Short distances can be travelled by bicycle (and rain capes are not expensive..)
Alternativer Verkehrsclub Deutschland
Here you can find a detailed concept of an ecological road policy. And also the online version of the magazine "fairkehr".
European Car-Sharing (ESC)
For those who do not drive a lot and for this reason do not own a car: an overview of the affiliated groups in a large number of German towns.
Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad Club
Everything you need to know about cycling. Recommendations for cycle trips. List of all local groups.
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10. Water consumption

Mostly not for drinking

  • Since 1990, water consumption in Germany has decreased by 12%!
    The 1990 level was 145 litres a day, and by 1996 only 128 litres per person per day. This puts Belgium and Germany among the lowest consumers in the EU.
  • As a guide:
    • A shower uses about 12 litres per minute.
    • It takes about 150 litres to fill a bath.
    • The average daily consumption of hot water per person in Germany is 12 ... 20 litres.
    • Depending on how it is heated and stored, a litre of hot water will cost you about 0.025 ... 0.12 euro.
    • On top of this comes the cost of a litre of waste water: up to 0.03 euro, depending on where you live.
How do we consume (or rather, pollute) the 128 litres?
Bathing, showering, washing 46 litres
Flushing the toilet 35 litres
Doing the washing 15 litres
Small business uses 11 litres
Cleaning, car-washing, gardening 8 litres
Washing-up 8 litres
Drinking and cooking 5 litres
(Statistic of 1996)
Actually, in reality, the situation looks a bit different: Over 8 years, we have consumed 165 litres per person per day on average at home, including gardening. I would have built a rain water recycling system, but it would have taken 20 years to pay for itself (partly because of the small water tax cost of only 7%).
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11. Other energy-saving links

Act on a local level...
Even more hints! Your contact for energy-saving strategies...
Energy Agency North Rhein Westphalia: Advice and hints for all thinking people.

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page written 24.01.1998, last update 18:16 28.6.2014, Samstag