Germany’s largest housing provider, Vonovia, has announced that it will reduce the nighttime room temperature in its rental apartments amid a coming energy crunch, a move that is expected to affect hundreds of thousands of tenants.
“From the beginning of the next heating period, the plan is to throttle the heating between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., so that the heating only heats up to 17 degrees Celsius (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit) at night,” said Vonovia spokesman Matthias Wullf to BZ.
According to the company, the measures are aimed at reducing gas consumption and limiting heating costs through “optimized system operation.” The move will likely result in savings of up to 8 percent.
Vonovia owns over half a million apartments, with 350,000 of those units in Germany, with most of the rest in Sweden and Austria. Some 40,000 of those apartments are in Germany’s capital city of Berlin.
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Electricity and gas prices have already tripled on the wholesale market in Germany and end-consumers are expected to be hit with massive utility bill increases. Officials are warning about the potential loss of 5 million jobs, mass bankruptcies, and economic “shockwaves” that could slam the German economy if Russia cuts gas supplies to the country. The German government has urged citizens to start saving energy now, including taking shorter showers, in order to allow German gas reserves to fill up before the winter months begin.
Vonovia is not the only massive housing provider expected to cut heating.
Against the background of high energy prices, the housing group Deutsche Wohnen, which owns 150,000 apartment units in Berlin alone, is also considering measures for possible savings.
“Basically, we take the current situation very seriously and are examining various options for saving natural gas or optimizing the operation of our systems,” a company spokeswoman told the Bild newspaper.
According to RBB, the association of Berlin-Brandenburg housing companies expects the costs for heating and hot water to increase by half before the end of the year. That means additional expenses of €410 euros for a 60-square-meter apartment, and further increases are possible in the coming year.