Que calor! Spain tells civil servants to limit use of air conditioning

Que calor! Spain tells civil servants to limit use of air conditioning

Illuminated house is pictured near the air conditioning as a family stand in Barcelona, Spain September 14, 2021. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

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MADRID, May 24 (Reuters) – Spanish civil servants will have to endure higher workplace temperatures this summer as the government plans to enforce energy saving measures to slash its power bills and help reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas.

The plan that was approved by the cabinet on Tuesday includes temperature controls in public offices, mass installation of solar panels on public buildings’ roofs and will encourage employees to work more from home.

In the summertime, office air conditioning should be set no lower than 27 Celsius (80.6 Fahrenheit), which is likely to make the traditional Spanish folding fan a common office stationary. In the winter, heating will be set at no more than 19C, according to a preliminary draft seen by Reuters.

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Temperatures often rise above 40C in the summer across Spain.

The plan, part of an EU-wide effort to cut dependence on Russian gas and oil, will also encourage public workers to use public transport or bicycles to go to work and will also turn off the lights earlier in public buildings.

Italy has earlier also announced plans to turn down air conditioning to save energy this summer. read more

“Even though Spain is one of the European Union countries with the lowest exposure to Russian energy, it is obvious we are not immune to rising energy prices,” Budget Minister Maria Jesus Montero told reporters when explaining the details of the energy savings plan.

A senior ministry source said the measures targeted a 25% reduction of the central administration’s energy usage.

Spain barely uses Russian gas itself, but by cutting energy use, the government hopes to be able help allies wean themselves off Russian supplies by re-exporting more of the gas Spain buys from producing countries other than Russia, government officials have said in the past weeks.

The energy savings plan will get 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) of funding from European COVID-19 recovery funds committed to improve public buildings’ energy efficiency.

($1 = 0.9339 euros)

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Reporting by Christina Thykjaer and Belen CarreƱo, editing by Inti Landauro, Emma Pinedo and Frank Jack Daniel

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