By Yiannis Elafros
Greece was declared European champion in energy conservation last week in a competition organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Malta beat Denmark into second place in the competition which included 11 nations, organizers said.
“The large participation of Greeks was a welcome surprise. Energy conservation is now being embraced by a great part of society,” said Dimitris Karavellas, CEO of WWF Greece.
The criteria taken into consideration by WWF experts were, first, the rate of national participation (percentage of population) and, second, the rate of energy saving over a course of 13 months.
A total 2,845 households from Greece took part in the competition, putting the Mediterranean nation at the top of the table. Germany ranked second with 1,888 households. A total 8,393 households took part in the competition, which began in April 2011.
Energy consumption decreased by an average 3,170 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per household, WWF data for Greece showed.
Stavros Lekkos, from Kato Diminio near Corinth, came first among the Greek participants. He managed to reduce his electricity consumption by 27 percent. Heating for his home was generated by renewable energy sources only. He received a 1,000-euro cash prize and a free energy inspection for his house.
Second place went to Athanasios Zelesiadis, from the northeastern city of Orestiada.
“I have been interested in energy conservation for years. But I managed to come second in the competition because my partner and I were expecting a child and we made a number of changes [to our home] to enhance insulation,” Zelesiadis told Kathimerini, adding that he managed to slash his household consumption of heating oil over the winter from 3.5 tons down to 2 tons.
“Not bad for a detached house in the freezing-cold Evros region,” he said.