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Spain Limits Air-Conditioning to Save Energy

Public buildings in Spain will be cooled to no less than 27 degrees Celsius in summer and heated to no more than 19 degrees Celsius in winter as part of a plan to save energy, the government said. this week.

The prospect of office workers, shoppers and commuters sweating through blistering summer days — such as in July, when a record heat wave melted the continent — may not be a comfortable thought. But Spain is the last European country to conclude that the restrictions are necessary, partly to promote energy efficiency, but also to reduce the consumption of Russian gas in the country, as requested 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 is committed to minimizing the economic and social impact of a potential cut in Russia’s gas supply,” the government said in a statement. a press release. .

The measure also requires storefronts to turn off their lights and keep their doors closed by 10 p.m. The guidelines apply to commercial spaces such as offices, shops, cinemas, shopping centers, cultural spaces and public transport systems and centers such as airports and stations.

The government said the changes could cut demand for gas and oil by 5 percent in the near term.

Not all heads of government agreed with the guidelines. Isabel Diaz Ayuso, the regional leader of Madrid, posted on Twitter on Monday that Madrid would not comply.

She added: “This generates uncertainty and deters tourism and consumption.”

Many European countries have long been impervious to air conditioning and consider it environmentally unfriendly and unnecessary. It is rarely found in homes, but is more common in public areas.

Still, each successive heat wave drives demand for air conditioning, and experts predict that demand will only increase, partly as a result of 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 subsidize the replacement of old, inefficient air conditioning 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 the street lamps.

According to the government, Spain’s new restrictions will apply until November 1, 2023.

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