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Madrid (AFP) – The Spanish government adopted a plan on Monday to moderate air conditioning and heating in shops, cultural buildings and transport stations, as part of the European Union’s efforts to limit imports of Russian gas.
“In these buildings, the heating must be maintained at a maximum of 19 degrees Celsius in winter and at a minimum of 27 degrees Celsius in summer,” the Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, announced at a press conference after a council of ministers.
The measures, already implemented since May for public offices and which will come into force in a week, will be applied in “commercial and cultural spaces, department stores, and (…) airports and train or bus stations,” Ribera explained.
Shop windows will have to be turned off at 10 p.m., as well as the lighting of monuments, the minister said.
As part of this “Energy Savings and Management Plan”, businesses that are air-conditioned “must have automatic locks on the access doors to prevent them from being permanently open, with the consequent waste due to energy losses to the outside,” said a statement from the Ministry for Ecological Transition.
Reduced use of air conditioning
Teleworking is also encouraged, “which allows us to save on travel and thermal consumption of buildings,” said the minister.
This plan had been outlined last Friday by the president of the government, the socialist Pedro Sánchez, who at that time asked his compatriots to follow his example and take off their ties, to reduce the energy bill by needing less air conditioning.
Since May, Spain has encouraged teleworking among public officials and limited air conditioning in official offices to reduce energy consumption.
In reaction to the war in Ukraine, the European Commission presented in May a plan for 210,000 million euros (about 214,000 million dollars) that foresees an acceleration of the transition towards renewable energies and energy savings to free “as quickly as possible ” of Russian gas imports.
The 27 equally adopted a plan last week by which they commit to doing “everything possible” to reduce their gas consumption by at least 15% between August 2022 and March 2023, compared to the average of the last five years of the same period.