How big cities are trying to save

In Germany the lights are threatening to go out. Blackout scenarios are played out, districts set up emergency centers, electricity generators in public and private facilities are maintained as a precaution. The possible failure of the energy supply and the drastically increased energy prices are causing many concerns. This also applies to the municipalities, which, as business owners, users of public buildings and lighting public spaces, are not only politically responsible, but also important consumers themselves.

Where there is potential for saving energy can differ from municipality to municipality. Like the cities of Frankfurt, Darmstadt and Mainz are trying to counteract the impending lack of energy and the increased prices.


The city of Darmstadt has not switched on the lights of around 30 monuments and public buildings at night for a long time, such as the Wedding Tower or the Ludwigsmonument. The pool temperatures in several municipal pools were lowered at the end of July. So far, savings of 20 to 30 percent have been achieved through these temperature reductions, as the city reports.

The measures are coordinated in Darmstadt by the “Task Force Municipal Energy Supply”, in which Mayor Jochen Partsch (The green) and representatives of the municipal companies discuss the procedure. Partsch warns: “In the coming months we will probably experience a situation that has never existed in post-war Germany,” he says. “Explosive energy costs on the one hand and drastic restrictions with a potentially significant impact on our prosperity on the other are a huge challenge for our society.”

As proposed by the federal government, administration buildings in Darmstadt will only be heated to a maximum of 19 degrees, and that from October 1st at the earliest. The heating period is scheduled to end in April in public buildings. The temperature in secondary schools should also be lowered to 19 degrees, in gyms it will even be lowered to 17 degrees. Where possible, the warm water is turned off at the sink.

Beautiful sight, but dispensable: Darmstadt turns off the illumination at the Wedding Tower.

Beautiful sight, but dispensable: Darmstadt turns off the illumination at the Wedding Tower.

Image: Michael Kretzer

In addition, the energy used should be used more efficiently. Where this has not yet been done, draft seals are installed on windows and doors and the operation of the ventilation and air conditioning systems is adapted to the actual use of the rooms. The street lighting will also be adjusted selectively. On the sections of federal highways 3 and 26 leading out of the city, which are not directly connected to buildings, the usual lighting will be completely stopped.

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