Let's Save Energy!

Impact of the Federal Energy Conservation Ordinance on University Operations

September 13th, 2022 | by

As a result of the Russian attack on Ukraine, Germany is, unfortunately, finding itself in a tight gas supply situation. A challenge such as this can only be mastered if we all come together and do our part in the coming months.

The German government has adopted a package of measures to help significantly reduce energy consumption in Germany in the short term. This will also help implement the European Union’s energy-saving targets. The public sector, including RWTH Aachen University, is expected to lead by example.

The Federal Energy Conservation Ordinance stipulates the following mandatory regulations for university operations:

  • Measures to save energy in public buildings: Rooms people do not generally spend much time in, such as corridors or large halls, foyers, or utility rooms, shall no longer be heated. This does not apply to rooms that require heating for technical or safety reasons (e.g. for structural integrity or for usage reasons).
  • Room temperature of 19 °C at workplaces in public buildings: Until further notice, offices in public buildings are to be heated to no more than 19 °C. The recommended minimum temperature for offices used to be 20 °C until now. In other workspaces in public buildings, the temperature will also be reduced depending on the degree of physical exertion associated with workers’ activities in these spaces.
  • Water heating systems in public buildings: In public buildings, decentralized drinking water heating systems, in particular instantaneous water heaters or decentralized hot water storage tanks, are to be switched off if they are primarily used for hand washing and if this does not conflict with hygiene requirements.
  • Facade illumination of buildings or monuments: The illumination of buildings or monuments, with the exception of security and emergency lighting, is prohibited. Exceptions include short-term lighting during cultural events and public festivals and, in general, all situations which require lighting to maintain the duty of care or to avert dangers and which cannot be replaced by other measures at short notice.

The regulations will initially be in force until February 28, 2023.

All members of RWTH are expressly encouraged to actively help conserve energy through their everyday activities. This includes, for example, choosing the right thermostat settings in offices or institute corridors in accordance with the regulations above in order to achieve the energy-saving goals.

Should this result in any problem or malfunction, please send an email to

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