Chancellor Olaf Scholz was recently asked if he still had any savings tips for citizens, like Robert Habeck. The short Hanseatic answer: “Nope.” His party friend Bärbel Bas got a little deeper into the matter, the President of the Bundestag wants the people’s representative body to become a pioneer when it comes to getting away from dependence on Russian gas.
This is provided by a concept entitled “Energy savings in the building operation of the German Bundestag”, which is available to the Tagesspiegel and is now being discussed in the Council of Elders. And the measures to be decided are very specific. “General lowering of the room temperature in heating mode by 2 degrees from 22°C to 20°C” is decreed for thousands of offices with a view to autumn and winter.
In the already very hot summer, the rooms should not be cooled down so much. “General increase in room temperature in air-conditioned offices in cooling mode by 2 degrees (…) to 26 to 28° C.” The room temperature is adjusted centrally “by changing the characteristic curves for heating and cooling (…)”.
For the plenary hall, the faction and committee rooms, the room temperature should also drop by 2 degrees to 20° Celsius when heating, with air conditioning it should now be two degrees more, a maximum of 24 to 26 degrees. The administration argues that changing the room temperature by one degree – with heating or with less cooling – already saves 5 percent of the energy. For years, climate protectors have been calling for increased energy saving in order to get away from fossil fuels. The issue is now being forced to gain momentum due to supply cutbacks and a possible shutdown of the Nord Stream 1 gas pipeline.
As a further measure, there should only be cold water at the washstands in the offices. “The instantaneous water heaters at the washbasins are switched off for this purpose,” says the template. This affects a total of 1,800 instantaneous water heaters.
In addition, all members of parliament and employees are asked to save more energy themselves. A hotline with comprehensive energy advice is also to be set up for all employees.
In addition, the lighting inside the building, if it can be controlled centrally, should be reduced “taking into account the relevant occupational health and safety regulations and safety concerns”, especially in halls and halls. Against the background of the current energy policy situation, the German Bundestag is making “a significant contribution to saving energy” through savings in building operation, the bill emphasizes.
The parliamentary manager of the Union parliamentary group, Patrick Schnieder (CDU), told the Tagesspiegel: “We need a comprehensive program for savings, especially in the
building area. The Bundestag must set a good example here.” The Union therefore welcomes the savings concept. “We expect the federal government to follow this example and quickly present its own concept for all federal properties.”
The federal government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) is currently desperately looking for ways to get away from fossil energy more quickly as a consequence of the Russian war in Ukraine. Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) has had energy-saving concepts developed for this – and he himself wants his behavior change when showering.
In this context, the Bundestag sees itself in the tradition of previous attempts to economize on energy. When the Reichstag was remodeled before moving to Berlin in 1999, a concept was implemented that largely relied on regenerative primary energy. In addition, only a small part of the meeting rooms in the Bundestag and the plenary hall are equipped with air conditioning.
In the Jakob-Kaiser-Haus, the Paul-Löbe-Haus and the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders Haus, the temperature is controlled centrally with a so-called concrete core temperature control, emphasizes the administration. To this end, in winter water from groundwater wells north of the Reichstag building is cooled via heat exchangers in the parliament buildings and stored again in wells in front of the Reichstag building at a depth of around 60 meters, a so-called cold storage tank.
The cold water stored in winter cools down the buildings in an energy-efficient manner via pipes in the office ceilings. As a result, the level of efficiency when it comes to saving energy is already quite high today:
According to the Bundestag, around 50 percent of the cooling required for air conditioning in summer is already achieved by the cold water stored in underground storage tanks in winter.