Public buildings in Spain will be cooled to no less than 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) in summer and heated to no more than 19 degrees Celsius (66 Fahrenheit) in winter as part of an energy saving plan, a said the government. this week.
The prospect of office workers, shoppers and commuters sweating through sweltering summer days – like in July when a record-breaking heatwave ignited the continent – may not be a comfortable thought. . But Spain is the latest European country to conclude that the restrictions are necessary, partly to promote energy efficiency but also to reduce the country’s consumption of Russian gas, as required by the European Union.
“In the context where the 27 members of the European Union have agreed to voluntarily reduce their gas consumption, the government seeks to minimize the economic and social impact of a possible cut in the supply of Russian gas. “, the government said in a statement. .
The measure also requires store windows to turn off their lights by 10 p.m. and keep their doors closed. The guidelines apply to commercial spaces such as offices, shops, cinemas, shopping malls, cultural spaces and public transport systems and hubs such as airports and train stations.
The government said the changes could reduce gas and oil demand by 5% in the short term.
Not all government leaders agreed with the guidelines. Isabel Diaz Ayuso, Madrid Regional Manager, posted on Twitter on Monday that Madrid would not comply.
She added: “It generates insecurity and scares away tourism and consumption.”
Many European countries have long been resistant to air conditioning, tending to view it as environmentally unfriendly and unnecessary. It is rarely found in homes, but is more common in public spaces.
Yet each successive heat wave creates more demand for air conditioning, and experts have predicted that demand will only increase, in part due to climate change. The International Energy Agency predicted in 2018 that global demand could more than triple by 2050.
Spain is not alone in its new restrictions. Greece also limits air conditioning to 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit), while separately subsidizing the replacement of old, inefficient AC units. Italy has limited cooling to 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) and heating to 19 degrees Celsius (66 Fahrenheit) in an effort called “Operation Thermostat”. Some German cities offer financial incentives to reduce gas consumption while others dim streetlights.
The new Spanish restrictions will be in place until November 1, 2023, according to the government.