Gripped by an energy crisis, Europe is in power-saving mode. In several countries measures are being taken to reduce consumption, such as in Belgium, where people are taking part in the SlowHeat experiment, to see how they can cope without central heating.
The motto of the project is: heat the body, not the room. However as Grégoire Wallenborn, a participant in the SlowHeat experiment says, it tests one’s mental fortitude.
"There are issues of habit that are both physiological and mental," he says. "And that means that we can put up with things that we never thought we could before. But you have to go gradually, each at his own pace. There is no universal recipe."
Elsewhere, methods to cope with fuel poverty are more conventional. In Tonnerre, in central France, local officials are handing out duvets to people, especially pensioners and those on low incomes.
It's an increasing problem in the country. Spared for most of this year from rising electricity and heating costs, the state-run energy giant EDF has announced a price increase in tariffs of 15% for consumers.
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