Spain orders public places not to set air conditioning below 27 degrees Celsius

As Europe grapples with a scorching summer and skyrocketing energy prices, Spain has become the latest government to tell its citizens to turn down the AC.

A decree published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday morning, which is expected to take effect next week, requires air conditioning in public places to be set at or above 27 degrees Celsius (about 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and the doors of those buildings closed. have to stay for energy.

Those public places include offices, shops, bars, theaters, airports and train stations. The decree is extended as a recommendation to all Spanish households. The rules include maintaining heating at or below 19 degrees Celsius (about 66 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter and will remain in effect at least until November 2023.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has publicly stated the country’s urgent need to conserve energy, even encouraging office workers to loosen their ties to keep a cool head without artificial aid. “I have asked ministers and bosses in the public and private sectors not to wear ties unless it is necessary,” he said at a news conference last week.

Lighthearted suggestions aside, European countries struggle to solve twin problems; scorching heat that drives up energy demand and political conflicts that complicate energy supplies. Countries, including Spain, are facing increasing pressure not to depend on gas supplied by Russia amid the ongoing conflict with Ukraine.

According to a report in the guardGreece and Italy announced measures last month to similarly limit energy consumption when cooling public buildings, including setting air conditioning to 27 degrees Celsius or higher.

France has ordered public buildings to turn thermostats up in summer and lower in winter and will fine air-conditioned companies €750 if they leave their doors open. The city of Hanover, Germany, has banned the use of portable air conditioning units and fan heaters everywhere except hospitals and schools.

But not everyone agrees with these new measures. The President of the Madrid Region, Isabel Díaz Ayuso tweeted“Madrid is not going to shut down. That creates uncertainty and deters tourism and consumption.”

In Europe, where some countries have climates that are traditionally milder than much of the US, less than 10 percent of households have air conditioning, compared to more than 90 percent of U.S. households. But as heat waves intensify, the International Energy Agency predicts that Europe will nearly triple its air-conditioning stock to 275 million units by 2050.

Correction, Wednesday, August 3, 6:02 PM: An earlier version of this article contained a sentence that erroneously said that the mandate was to set the AC below 27 degrees, it requires a temperature above 27 degrees.

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