Spain enacted a law this week requiring air conditioning in public spaces to be set at or above 27 degrees Celsius as Europeans face severe heat and rising energy prices this summer. Businesses like offices, shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as networks for public transportation, will be subject to the new rule.
In accordance with previous European Union energy agreements to reduce dependency on Russian gas, the order was incorporated into the measure agreed by the Spanish government on Monday. The new rule’s goal is to reduce the country’s gas consumption by 7%.
Under the new restrictions, shops will be required to keep doors closed, and heating systems must be examined more frequently to boost efficiency, according to Spanish Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera. Switching off store window lights after 10 p.m. is one of the measures. The street lighting system will be unaffected.
The new framework was unveiled last week by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who stated, “You only have to walk into a shopping center to know that maybe the temperature is set too low.”
The new Spanish law won’t expire until at least November 2023.
However, not all officials supported the changes. Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the head of the Community of Madrid, stated in a Monday translated tweet, “Madrid does not go out. This generates insecurity and discourages tourism.”
Spain is not the only country in the region making an effort to lower energy costs and use. According to reports, France has warned companies using air conditioning to keep their doors closed or risk fines. In Germany, heaters and air conditioners are no longer allowed.
Spain went through a heat wave last month, with highs of 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit). As a result, Spain ranks among the warmest European states throughout the summer. The nation has already endured two heat waves in 2022, during which days-long highs of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) were common. The first few weeks of August are predicted to see a rise in temperatures again.
This summer, severe wildfires have affected several European nations, including France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Germany, and the Czech Republic. Spain is one of these nations. The fires have prompted thousands of people to evacuate.