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Germany: Deutsche Bahn offers staff financial incentive to save energy

Cutting back on using lights, heating, and air-conditioning can all 'add up to a significant amount'

Cutting back on using lights, heating, and air-conditioning can all 'add up to a significant amount'

Deutsche Bahn is offering its employees financial incentives to save energy at the workplace, Germany's national rail operator announced on Tuesday.

A one-off bonus of at least €100 ($102) will be offered to all 200,000 employees across Germany, encouraging them "to become active, to pull all the smaller and larger levers in order to end up with a significant amount of [energy] savings," Chief Human Resources Officer Martin Seiler said.

There are a variety of ways in which Deutsche Bahn staff can aid the energy-saving operation, such as only using lights, heating, and air-conditioning when necessary "or maybe using the stairs instead of the elevator," Seiler said, before adding, "even small savings add up to a significant amount."

Bonus could be increased

The bonus will be included in employees' paychecks and if Deutsche Bahn achieves a particular target, the financial incentive could be increased to €150. However, Seiler did not specify exactly what that energy-saving figure was.

He added that the rail operator would be introducing other measures to save energy, such as the replacement of fossil fuel heating systems with alternative heating systems and the removal of the exterior lighting of its headquarters at Potsdamer Platz in the German capital.

As of Tuesday evening, the LED lights in the Deutsche Bahn Tower will no longer shine. Only the logo and the position lights for air traffic control will remain switched on. Similar measures are being examined for other buildings used by the operator, Seiler said.

Deutsche Bahn hopes to recoup money through savings

The program is likely to cost Deutsche Bahn around €20 million, though the operator is confident of at least recouping that amount from the energy-saving proposals.

With an annual consumption of around 10 terawatt hours, the railway operator is the largest electricity consumer in Germany.

Faced with a drastic reduction in delivery by the Russian energy giant Gazprom, the German government has asked citizens to cut energy consumption to save gas for the winter.

Meanwhile, a number of landmarks across the country have seen their lights switched off to conserve energy.

The head of Mercedes-Benz recently announced that the company was preparing to reduce its natural gas consumption in Germany by as much as 50%.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the subsequent sanctions on Moscow from the West, have sparked an energy crisis that has European politicians scrambling to come up with contingency plans before the more energy-intensive winter.

jsi/msh (dpa, AFP)