To save money is what drives Europeans to reduce energy consumption. Right now, in the middle of the summer, electricity prices are lower compared to some months ago, but this does not stop Europeans. For more than eight out of ten people, reducing their own energy consumption in their daily lives continues to stay relevant. These are results from Vattenfall’s Energy Saving Barometer that is conducted for the second time.

On behalf of Vattenfall, research institute Statista surveyed a total of 5,000 representatively selected consumers in Germany, Finland, France, Sweden and the Netherlands between 15 and 25 May.

In all countries, consumers are taking many small steps to reduce the use of electricity, heat, fuels and water. This ranges from using less light, reducing shower time, washing clothes at lower temperatures, taking the car less often or even going to bed earlier and spending less time at home. In comparison French consumers have implemented most energy saving measures while Scandinavian countries lag a bit behind.

A pattern that can be observed in all countries is the difference between the declared importance of saving energy and the actual behavior. In all age groups, saving energy is considered very important. But the older people are, the more energy-saving measures they take. This also includes investments in small energy-saving features such as LED lights, distribution plugs with off switches, water saving shower heads or draft stoppers. Households of the over-50s and, to an even greater extent, the over-65s are significantly more likely to be equipped with such energy-saving features than the younger generations. Among house owners that invest in solar panels, heat pumps or insulation, this generation gap disappears. The willingness to invest is high in all age groups.

“A large number of small measures taken by each individual reduces energy demand of society. In the medium and long term, however, investments in energy-efficient modern technologies and renewable energies are needed. We support consumers in this journey towards fossil freedom with concrete actions and a wide range of solutions,” says Martijn Hagens, who heads Vattenfall’s customer and heat business.

For nine out of ten consumers, cost savings are a main reason for reducing their own energy consumption followed by motives of saving natural resources (more than 75 per cent) and ensuring that energy lasts for all (more than 71 per cent).

Rising energy prices are causing problems for European consumers. The energy crisis has worsened the financial situation of approximately half of the population. In addition, more than two thirds fear a continuation of the energy crisis in the coming winter. The concern among women about high energy prices is higher than it is among men.

The proportion of all respondents who are very or somewhat worried about current energy prices is still high (more than 67 per cent). However, the number of worried consumers has dropped in all countries compared to the first survey in January 2023, especially in Sweden (fallen by 18 percentage points) and the Netherlands (fallen by 19 percentage points).

In addition to an improved supply situation and decreasing wholesale prices for energy, the support packages of governments to ease the burden on households may also have contributed to a calmer situation.

More results from the survey:
To consume less energy, consumers have made a wide range of behavioural changes in their everyday life:

  • Using less light was most often mentioned as reduction measure in Sweden (77 per cent), Finland (77 per cent) and France (80 per cent)
  • 77 per cent of Germans cook with a lid
  • 79 per cent of Dutch consumers reduced the temperatures in their homes
  • Half of the respondents in Germany say they use electric devices less often, in France 61 per cent say the same.
  • In the Nordics, Germany and the Netherlands, one of five spend less time at home to reduce energy consumption and 28 per cent in France.
  • More than two out of three take shorter showers. And one out of three takes cold showers, the Finns most often implemented this measure (42 per cent)
  • More than a quarter say they go to bed earlier than they used to do.

By Energy