Automobiles: Germans like to drive powerful, fast cars and are proud of their Autobahn with its lack of speed limits. At the same time they like to save money. This is reflected in their cars. Over the last twenty years the fuel efficiency of German cars has increased by 20%, while doubling their horsepower.
The VW Lupo 3L TDI is a case in point. It is the first mass produced car which can go 100 kilometers on 3 liters or less fuel, while maintaining the power of others compact cars.
The entire German car industry is constantly increasing the efficiency of its production methods. Most produce only 30-40% of the final product. The rest is developed and manufactured by a complex, sophisticated network of specialized suppliers, many of whom are located right next to their German customers.
Residential homes: Germans focus on building homes which maximize space. German houses tend to be small, certainly in comparison to homes in the U.S., which are twice the size.
German homes are built, and renovated, with an eye on energy conservation. Insulation and electricity efficiency are two of the key goals. And the German government supports these with generous subsidies via the KfW, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, the Bank for Reconstruction, founded in 1948.
This is especially the case with new construction and renovations, with the KfW offering ten different types of financial support linked to new efficiency technologies. All loans have borrowing rates guaranteed to be lower than the rate of inflation. In some situations, families receive cash payouts as subsidies.
Particularly popular, and subsidized by the government, are solar panels, which save electricity and reduce Germany‘s dependence on electricity produced by fossil fuels.
Water consumption: Since the 1980s ecological groups have been campaigning for less water use, in order to protect the environment and save money. Since then water conservation has become common in Germany. The manufacturers of showers, faucets, toilets, washers, dishwashers and other household appliances have developed and brought to market highly efficient products.
German households save so much water that waste water systems have difficulty keeping themselves clean due to too little waste water moving through the system. Local water works often need to flush through extra amounts of water in order to keep the system clean.