interview Cost explosion and inflation: many people fear the fall. A professor at the Ruhr University in Bochum now comes up with an idea to drastically reduce energy costs at home: thermal underwear.
The federal government has just adopted a third relief package worth around 65 billion euros, which includes direct payments to pensioners and students. But is that enough? With rising inflation and energy costs, many people are anxious about autumn and winter.
Graham Weale is Professor of Energy Economics at the Center for Environmental Management, Resources and Energy at Ruhr University Bochum. The 69-year-old has an idea how every household could save a lot of energy costs: by wearing thermal underwear.
Professor Weale, what is behind your idea?
Graham wave The government has rightly said that there is an urgent need to save energy, especially gas. But the politicians have not said much about how this could be done. In principle, there are three options: To continue your life with the same amount of energy, which would lead to large debts. Or that people sit in their homes and freeze because they no longer heat. Or, and this is my idea: people wear thermal underwear. After all, it is not possible to insulate buildings better in a short time. But you can insulate people better – with warming underwear.
Thermal underwear is usually worn outside for winter sports…
wave Yes, it may sound strange, but the truth is: Germany is in a huge crisis and everyone needs to be creative and do their part. As an economist, I can’t think of anything simpler than using thermal underwear. When the government supplies people with thermal underwear, it does more economically than just giving them money. By wearing the warming underwear, you can lower the heating temperature in the apartment from 22 to 18 degrees. In a typical four-person household, this alone saves 1,500 euros per year. For two sets of thermal underwear, you need to invest around 60 euros. The ratio of benefit to value could not be better.
But merino wool isn’t there for 60 euros, is it?
wave No, not that. You can also order more expensive laundry. My wife and I have stocked up for the winter. Ours is made of artificial material. My goal is to bring the idea into play.
Many people probably cannot even put a number on their heating costs.
wave It complicates everything. Almost no one has an overview. Let’s make a comparison between fuel and heating costs: Fuel prices are transparent. But who knows how much it costs to heat the apartment. It is a bad starting point for making decisions about energy consumption and saving measures.
Besides the warm underwear: Do you have other practical ideas?
wave The best contribution is to turn down the apartment temperature, to heat fewer rooms. But to be warm and comfortable at the same time, you need thermal underwear.
Have you already deposited your idea in Berlin?
wave Not yet. But the government can take up the idea. Covering 83 million people in thermal underwear in winter obviously won’t work. It is important to prioritize. Like the Corona vaccine. First it is the turn of the elderly and those who have little money available. Of course, everyone can immediately implement the idea for themselves.