The Swiss reduce their Christmas lights, energy savings oblige

Decorating your home with angels, fir trees and other light garlands, a custom that normally goes hand in hand with the Advent period. But this year, energy savings are changing habits.

Decorations and light garlands by the thousands: for 20 years, Jean-Marie Chassot’s gas station in the Friborg village of Prez-vers-Noréaz sparkled from the start of the Advent period.

But this year, not a shadow of a light. The owner, who is passionate about Christmas decorations, had to pull the plug. “This year, it will all stay inside,” says Jean-Marie Chassot on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., pointing to the room where his many light decorations are stored.

To save energy, the municipal authorities have recommended that their citizens reduce their consumption. But sorting and picking through his 150 decorative pieces was impossible for Jean-Marie Chassot. “I have been asked to reduce the airfoil, but that does not suit me: it’s all or nothing.”

Limitations in the public sector

In the city of Fribourg, the light decorations have simply remained in the closet at the end of the year. The municipality had announced at the end of September to traders that it would not finance the assembly and consumption costs of garlands and other luminous stars.

>> Read also: The city of Friborg ignores Christmas lights, saving electricity obliges

The Christmas markets in French-speaking Switzerland have also decided to contribute to the economy effort, by limiting the animations or requiring a minimum filling, by turning off the light decorations at night or by prohibiting the auxiliary heaters for traders.

>> Read also: Christmas markets under the sign of energy sobriety

In some building halls, often out of sight, there are still some garlands. But this winter, they will be rarer. The Geneva company Sapin et Décoration has thus noted a 30% drop in the rental of its lighting installations.

“All of the private clientele whose garlands were installed in the trees, in the large subjects of their gardens, clearly told us that this year it was not a very good idea for us to intervene”, explains the director Didier Joly – Pottuz.

Declining sales

Energy savings are also felt on the shelves of large distributors. Contacted by the RTS, several stores admit that sales are down, even if it is still too early to draw an assessment. The shame of buying fairy lights is there. Customers give up these decorations, even if they are in LED and energy-efficient, for fear of the gaze of neighbors.

On the other hand, the solar garland is very popular. An energy on which Jean-Marie Chassot wants to bet for next winter. “Next year, I’m going to do the total: I’ll install solar panels and then I can put my Christmas lights in my own way.”

Find alternatives to keep the Christmas spirit, obvious for Jean-Marie Chassot, and probably also for many French-speaking people.

Gianluca Agosta/kkub

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The Swiss reduce their Christmas lights, energy savings oblige

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