Debate sparks after Spain bans air conditioning below 27 degree C

 Thursday, August 4, 2022 

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A debate has been sparked after Spain’s government moved to prevent offices, shops and other venues from setting air conditioning below 27°C in the summer. It is part of plans to cut the country’s energy consumption and limit dependency on Russian gas.

Fierce heatwaves and a lack of rain in Spain threaten travel and tourism sector and also reducing olive oil production from the world’s top exporter.

Spanish government also said that the tourists should be aware of extreme heatwave as the weather has become increasingly hot in Spain. A heatwave has swept the country with some parts experiencing temperatures in excess of 40 degrees.

The ban on air conditing, published on Tuesday morning, will also stop heating from being raised above 19°C during the winter.

The rules will be mandatory in all public and commercial buildings, including bars, cinemas, theatres, airports and train stations.  It is extended as a recommendation to Spanish households.

Laura Berge, a civil servant in Valencia, questioned the practicality of the measure.

In that case, the air would have to be turned on well in advance and it would be counterproductive in terms of energy savings.

Ana Isabel Gracia, secretary of social policies and housing at the Spanish trade union UGT (Unión General de Trabajadores) said that they see that it saves energy and is good for climate change, but our concern is that it affects families, especially the most vulnerable.

Instead of taking global measures, it should be specified by establishments so that they can have a different temperature. It is not the same to work, for example, in a place where there is a lot of machinery and the temperature is very high, and in another type of environment where there is none of that. There are studies that say that the optimal temperature is 24 degrees. Therefore, perhaps, instead of raising it to 27 degrees, we could stay at 25.”

Teresa Ribera, Spain’s ecological transition minister, said the measures — which include switching off store window lights after 10 pm but not street lighting — would initially be maintained until November 2023.

She encouraged Spaniards to join the cuts, saying it would not only reduce consumption levels but also bring down households’ energy bills.

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