Cooling your home just got cheaper

The government announced yesterday the launch of a program to subsidize the cost for households of replacing air-conditioning units, as it pushes an environmentally friendly agenda a few days ahead of elections for the European Parliament. The Development Ministry said the government will chip in with up to 500 euros, or 30 percent of the retail price, for a new air conditioner when consumers turn in their old appliances. Each consumer, foreign or Greek national, can buy up to two air conditioners with the subsidy. «The basic aim of the program is for households to save energy during the peak summer period, something that will bring multiple benefits for the environment and the economy,» Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis told reporters. The ministry estimates that between 50,000 and 60,000 air conditioners will be replaced in the six-month program set to start next week. Some 20 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy will be saved by the measure, the minister said, helping reduce the strain air conditioners put on the country’s power system each summer when electricity consumption hits record highs. The initiative follows recent announcements by the Development Ministry keen to show voters the red-tape-free side to green investments. Last month, the ministry said households will be able to install solar-energy equipment to cover their power needs with relatively few bureaucratic procedures in a move that will promote renewable energy sources. Despite being one of the European Union’s sunniest and windiest countries, Greece has been a laggard in adopting environmentally friendly power. «The promotion of green energy and the saving of energy is high on the government agenda. That is why we will continue in this same direction,» said Hatzidakis yesterday, adding that the initiative might be extended to include fridges. More information is available at [email protected]