Gov’t unveils plan for more energy saving in public sector

The government yesterday announced further plans to save energy in the public sector, along with a publicity campaign aimed at households, as part of a drive to avert power shortages this summer. A decision signed by the minsters of Development, Interior and Economy makes it obligatory for air-conditioning installations to be maintained at least once a year. The decision applies to installations in all public buildings, including those of central, local government and dependent agencies. «We are determined to reduce the excessive consumption of energy in the broader public sector. The government must set the example and we hope this step will encourage citizens, households and the private sector to adopt savings measures in daily consumption,» said Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas. According to ministry data, the regular maintenance of air-conditioning installations on the exterior of buildings translates into a 20 percent saving in power consumption. Basic maintenance will have to completed by June 15, while Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos is expected to issue a circular with further instructions specifically targeting a cut in total electricity consumption in public buildings between July 3 and August 3, 2007. Sioufas cited the success of measures adopted in May 2005, such as the installation of more energy-efficient lighting equipment in public buildings. Additionally, the Public Power Corporation (PPC) is soon to launch an information campaign on ways of saving energy in the home and the office. The campaign will comprise leaflets accompanying electricity bills, while the Development Ministry will distribute further material in large towns and cities, with practical instructions about how to save energy. Sioufas appealed to all citizens to carry out maintenance of their air-conditioning units. «Besides the significant financial gain, a reduction in the consumption of our energy resources is also a legacy for future generations,» he said. «Government policy aims to make energy saving a fundamental aspect of the everyday life of Greek citizens/consumers. This is not merely an energy target, it is also a major political goal.»