The effects of the energy crisis are far-reaching. Global news reports are hammering home rising prices and in France televised weather broadcasts now include energy forecasts to raise awareness of blackouts. Consumers, businesses, and government officials are re-evaluating their energy consumption priorities with many adjusting their behaviours in necessary and potentially permanent ways.
Hospitality venues are demonstrating that excessive energy usage isn’t fundamental to providing good service. In October, UK restaurant Next Door hosted a Back-to-Basics event with no power. Charcoal barbecues superseded electric cookers, a cold cellar replaced fridges, and only cash payments were accepted. Guests also had to forgo Wi-Fi connectivity for the duration of their meal. Several other UK pubs and eateries are turning off the lights and introducing candlelit evenings. The Mason Arms in Cornwall, The Tollemache Arms in Northampton, The Blue Vinny Pub in Dorchester and The Angel and Crown in London are marketing elevated experiences by flickering candlelight.
Big businesses are also addressing their energy consumption habits. French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH announced several energy efficiency commitments in September. The measures include overnight light switch offs in all stores and indoor temperature reductions in their warehouses, offices, and retail buildings. Acknowledging that their employees also have a role to play, LVMH are encouraging staff to take the stairs, switch off appliances and avoid printing.
City officials are reviewing their expenditure in light of financial pressures, with many pulling the plug on Christmas lighting displays. In France, this year’s Champs-Élysées Christmas lighting display is titled Sobrilliance, a play on the word’s energy sobriety and brilliance. The lights are to shine for shortened hours this year and will be switched off before midnight each day instead of their traditional 2am finish. In Denmark, Copenhagen’s Strøget Christmas lights switch on has been postponed until the first day of advent, two weeks later than previous years.
The energy sobriety movement is catching on, for businesses and cities alike. As people are watching their energy usage, brands are working to normalize and facilitate reduced power consumption. Transitions to more responsible energy consumption will also help to safeguard the future by contributing to keeping global warming under 1.5°C.