Swiss to dial down thermostats in government buildings

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ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss bureaucrats will need to dress warmly this winter after the government decided public buildings would be heated to no more than 20 degrees Celsius (68°F) to save energy.

The measures agreed by the cabinet on Friday cover federal office buildings and universities and military properties. They aim to save 6-10% of the energy used to heat federal buildings.

Other steps include turning off hot water where possible, turning down thermostats overnight and on weekends, and switching off non-essential lighting and devices.

Administrative operations between Christmas and New Year are to be reduced with the aim of keeping fewer buildings open.

The government last month launched a voluntary campaign to urge consumers and businesses to conserve energy as shortages of gas and power loom this winter that could lead to rationing in a worst-case scenario.

Around Europe, countries are looking for ways to cut energy consumption and fill up their gas stores in preparation for a possible total cut-off. Measure include turning down thermostats and switching off lights in public buildings.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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