Limits on air conditioning in public spaces of Spain come into force

The Spanish government’s decree law to save energy has come into force this Wednesday, forcing many businesses to limit their air conditioning to a low of 27°C in the summer, while the limits in winter will be set to 19°C.

This measure is intended to reduce energy bills substantially and to comply with objectives set by Brussels for reducing the amount of energy countries use.

Traders’ associations of Barcelona regard the measures as hasty and ask for “flexibility” when it comes to applying them. Shop associations regret that 27 degrees “is too high a temperature,” which will lead to “customers finding themselves uncomfortable.”

Temperature control will have to be applied to public administration buildings, shops, supermarkets, cultural spaces such as cinemas and theaters, and also in transport stations.

However, the regulation will not be applied to hospitals, educational centers, hairdressers, or hotel rooms. No temperature limit is introduced in private homes.

Some workplaces where workers are forced to do a lot of movements, such as bars and restaurants, can lower the thermostat to 25°C. The Spanish government insists the measure will still be effective because “25 is not the same as 19 degrees”, as minister for ecological transition, Teresa Ribera, said last week. According to the minister’s calculations, each degree of temperature change represents a saving of 7% of consumption.

Another new rule coming into force tonight is the obligation to turn off lights in shop windows at 10pm. The resolution also applies to public buildings that are unoccupied but, on the other hand, it does not oblige monuments such as the Sagrada Família to turn off their lights. In such cases, it will be the party that manages the monument to decide what to do with the lighting.

In addition, at the end of September, it will become mandatory for spaces with air conditioning to have automatically closing doors. This measure will also apply to buildings that use renewable energy.

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