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Saturday 19.08.2017 | Name days: Melānija, Imanta

And the Baltics’ energy-wise thriftiest nation is…

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RULinas Jegelevicius for the BNN

Yes, we all know it: Estonians are slowpoke, Latvians have the gay minister and Lithuanians, uh, well, from now, the thriftiest in the bunch. Surprisingly, the frugalness comes from where everybody would expect the least: energy saving. Yet with the floating liquefied natural gas vessel in full swing and the electricity prices edging down, an astonishing 75% of Lithuanians endeavor to save electric power and heat, while the respective stats among the Latvians and Estonians were 57% and 56 %, according to the research by GfK Custom Research Baltic, a market research company.

Lithuanians are penny-pinching?

Lithuanians usually tend to think worse of themselves that others, therefore the findings are pretty unexpected and gladdening. It’s pretty hard to tell the reasons of the energy consumption-watchfulness, but perhaps all the debates on a range of energy issues in the country have made the impact on the behavior,» Skaistė Varnienė, senior project manager at the research company, told BNN. «Interestingly, many of the other polls done in the past support the results of the latest research: Lithuanians tend to be a penny-pinching nation…»

An impressive 93% of the surveyees pointed out they turn off light on the way out and nearly as many- 90%- responded they do that when leaving for other room. Interestingly, 86% maintained they are using energy-saving bulbs and, surprisingly, 62% insisted they are pulling the cords of appliances out of sockets on the way out.

The poll was carried out in late October and as many as 2,222 Lithuanian inhabitants were polled, according to the GfK Custom Research Baltic’s representative.

But expectedly, the bulk of the niggards come from the age group over 35 years.

«That’s not surprising, but, characteristically to Lithuanians, the saving factor, for some, irrational, i.e determining many Lithuanians’ propensity for the saving habit,» Varnienė noted.

Buyers are getting environment-conscious

Experts estimate that, by switching off electric appliances and lights and smartly using all electronic devices, up to 20% of the usually consumed power that way can be saved.

With investment in higher energy efficiency-class gadgets, the efficiency can be spiked up to 40%.

Still, what was emphasized in a pan-Baltic discussion on energy saving, the economic motif of saving dwarfs the environmental concerns.

«Perhaps it is related to the fact that we do not have large coal-fired power plants and do not deal with the pollution daily. Hence, the economic motivation- to save on energy bills as that lets, perhaps, afford a far travel. When older, people tend to focus on the practicalities and energy saving, especially affecting the electricity and heating bills in one’s very own house or apartment does start to matter,» Mantas Vaskėla, an electricity consumption expert, told

But he notes that slowly but noticeably people are becoming more environment-conscious.

«I’d think the time when we will be buying an environmentally-friendly car is rather sooner than later,» the expert said.

EU cannot rule what vacuum cleaner to buy

But for Rūta Vainienė, a prominent economist and the former president of Lithuania’s Free Market Institute (LFMI), considers that the juxtaposition of economy and environment doesn’t seem to be always right.

«Climate was changing, is changing will be, most likely, changing in the future. That is the fact we all ought to live up with. But the question is about our adaptability: do we adapt to the change, or we attempt to halt it at the expense of our well-being? In other words, are we going to refuse our wellbeing now in order to use it in the future, removing the adverse consequences along the way? From the standpoint of economics, that does not create any problem- larger consumption is not a problem by itself. It’s normal,» she told.

But for the sake of saving, an EU injunction on use of a more powerful vacuum cleaner definitely makes a constraint of selection.

«It is important to allow the consumer to choose from the two options: one-oriented to saving and the other – not. Any restrains from above hindering making the selection is a stricture of the person’s right. I think we will see more that kind of restrictions for the sake of ostensible energy saving in the future,» the economist pondered.

Vainienė, however, agrees that Lithuanians match the name of a frugal nation.

«During the 2008-2009 crisis, GDP shrunk by 16% and as much the income have decreased. But despite that, through the tough times, people deposited more money in banks. For example, in 2010, the amount of bank deposits grew LTL 1.4 billion (EUR 405.7 million). It’s pretty amazing: the lesser income, the larger bank deposits. That was really makes a thrifty nation,» the former LFMI president told.

Times are changing

But Žilvinas Šilėnas, president of the Institute, says one should refrain from jumping to far-reaching conclusions on any poll results, and that of «GfK Custom Research Baltic» is not an exception.

«Look, those times when buyers would buy a 50-plus-centimeter diagonal TV set and raise questions on its energy efficiency are long gone. Now, all the TV set buyers opt for one-meter-and-larger TV sets in diagonal and the question of power efficiency comes naturally as the price. Effectively, the question of energy efficiency is in everyone’s lips now. So against the backdrop, the presumably high numbers of Lithuanians especially preoccupied with energy saving it’s a little bit off from what I’d be expecting normally,» he told BNN.

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