Young Happy Woman Holding Remote Control Air Conditioner. Image: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com
THE government of Spain has ‘backtracked’ on energy-saving plans that were set to force bars and restaurants to stop lowing their air conditioning units to lower than 27 degrees.
Speaking to Onda Cero on Friday, August 4, Spain’s Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, said that bars and restaurants may limit the use of air conditioning to “around 25 degrees” – going back on the energy-saving plans set by the royal decree.
Recently, Spain set a limit of 27 degrees in energy saving and efficiency measures approved by the Government.
However, Ribera said that 27 degrees will be applied “with flexibility” and has given as an example that nightclubs, kitchens and gyms need a different temperature than other spaces such as a bookstore.
“You cannot ask workers who are in conditions of important physical exercise and that do not have the conditions that labour law guarantees with respect to the maximum and minimum temperatures,” Ribera said.
Ribera said that for this reason, businesses and establishments must justify any adjustments in the temperature limit, “a flexibility incorporated in the decree law to protect the occupational health rights of their workers”.
Ribera noted that this first package of measures is designed for buildings for public use “with flexibilities”, depending on the type of economic activity and the work carried out.
“The decree law itself incorporates a call that wherever there are spaces where workers have to move and have physical exercise, it must be applied with the corresponding flexibility,” the minister said about the minimum and maximum temperatures.
Despite the apparent backtrack, the Ecological Transition minister said that the royal decree on energy saving and efficiency measures “is to be fulfilled” and a “reasonable effort and with respect for working conditions that, in any case, must be kept in mind.”
The minister also said that the Government will not make any changes but noted that the “complex” situation as a result of the war in Ukraine has caused tensions in global energy markets.
The words from Ribera come days after Madrid’s president refused to bow to Pedro Sanchez’s order to turn off the lights and not lower air conditioning below 27 degrees.
Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the President of the Community of Madrid, said on Monday, August 2 that she will not turn off the lights in Madrid as: “It causes insecurity, poverty and sadness.”
Ayuso is believed to be the first regional leader to refuse to apply the law approved by Pedro Sanchez’s executive since the competencies of shops and opening hours depend on the autonomous communities.
The law details that establishments and public buildings will have to turn off their lights at night, in order to adapt to the commitment with the European Union to save energy.
In addition, temperatures inside buildings must be no lower than 27 degrees in summer and no higher than 19 degrees in winter, while access doors must be closed if the air conditioning or heating is on.
Some of the establishments will have to carry out reforms to adapt to the new regulations, such as having to change or modify their boilers.
In view of this outlay, Ayuso asked on Twitter: “And who pays for all these reforms?