Greek government hires energy officers to monitor public buildings
Evangelo Sipsas

The Greek government has assigned energy officers to public buildings to monitor efforts to cut power consumption.

Changing the habits of those working in the public sector is a major priority. This means turning off the lights in common areas, reducing thermostats by at least two degrees and turning off devices when they're not being used.

In January, Athens announced a plan for government buildings to cut down on air conditioning and heating, install new windows, and de-power electrical devices to slash energy consumption by 10 percent in the short term.

And now they have appointed energy officers to keep an eye on progress.

Around 3,000 buildings are part of the plan, but only 800 have a designated energy officer. Many are in Athens, which is aiming for even higher energy-saving targets than the government.

Deputy Mayor of Urban and Building Infrastructure for the city of Athens, Foivos Axiotis, said: "The price of energy has been going up as a result of the situation in Ukraine and there is nothing we can do about it. But what we can do though is to reduce our consumption. Our goal is to reduce our consumption by 40 percent by 2024."


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Far away from Athens things are a bit different. About an hour and a half north of the Greek capital lies the town of Kamena Vourla, a popular seaside destination. Here most people rely on tourism to make money.

With help from the EU the town was able to change its street lights and slash energy usage by almost 10 percent. But making it happen wasn't easy.

"We were able to change all the light bulbs and change the system in less than four months, but it was very difficult. We had to apply, send a plan, and have several meetings just to get accepted. Unfortunately outside of Athens things get done slower, " said Mayor of Kamena Vourla, Giannis Sykotis.

Inflation is now stabilizing, and the government has raised salaries in some sectors. That's offered some relief for people here who, like everywhere else, have been hit by high energy bills.

The government hopes it can lead the way in cutting back on the size of those bills - setting an example in how to save energy - and using less public money to pay for it.


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