Spain has banned setting the AC below 27°C in most public buildings in an effort to wean the country off of Russian oil.
Besides the AC restrictions, shops are now required to keep doors closed as much as possible. And much like in France, streetlights will also be shut off at night. Thus, not only will the Spanish sweat throughout the Summer, but they’ll be doing so in darkness.
According to Spanish Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera, the government plans to keep these measures until November 2023 at the earliest.
Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez also stated that the new laws were part of an effort to help the country conserve energy, adding that workers smouldering in their offices should remove articles of clothing to beat the heat without using AC.
“I have asked the ministers and public and private sector bosses not to wear ties unless it is necessary,” Sanchez said at a press conference last week.
Still, some are unhappy with the decision, with Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the regional president of Madrid, saying that the law will scare off tourists and lead to “poverty” and “sadness.” She further stated that Madrid would not comply.
Speaking with EuroNews, several workers have expressed concern over the new law, arguing that imposing such a restriction during a heatwave is just too much.
“Generally speaking, you can work at 27 degrees, but to reach that temperature in hot areas, you need to put the air conditioner at 22 or 23 degrees for a couple of hours, so I am worried that it will not be allowed to exceed 27 degrees at any time,” civil servant Laura Berge told Euronews.
“In that case, the air would have to be turned on well in advance, and it would be counterproductive in terms of energy savings.”
Berge’s colleague agreed, adding, “I am in favour of saving energy and that this requires sacrifices, but these proposed temperatures are not adequate.”
Additionally, as reported by Vice, “Under the government plans, heating will also have a new limit of no higher than 19 degrees Celsius. While the rules are mandatory in all bars, cinemas, theatres, airports, shops and train stations, it has been recommended that Spanish households may also consider implementing these new guidelines.”
That the AC restriction could start to be applied to private residents brings up innumerable concerns not addressed by the government, such as how the government plans on monitoring private citizens, how it will be enforced, and whether this will be incorporated into some larger agenda, such as carbon-based climate scores.