Holidaymakers warned over new Spanish air conditioning law

Spanish public places, such as pubs, restaurants and bars, will be forced to follow new air conditioning rules. (Credit: Getty Images)
Spanish public places, such as pubs, restaurants and bars, will be forced to follow new air conditioning rules. (Credit: Getty Images)

Holidaymakers may feel the heat more than usual in Spain after the country passed a new law to limit the power on air conditioning units.

Tourists may used to popping into a cafe or shop to cool down in the strong Spanish summer heat, but that may be no longer, with the new air conditioning rules due to start next week throughout the country.

It comes after an intense heatwave across Europe put pressure on energy resources.

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    Here’s everything you need to know.

    What is the new air conditioning rule in Spain?

    New rules mean that some public buildings cannot set their air conditioning unit to temperatures below 27C.

    This includes cafes, pubs, bars, restaurants, supermarkets and airports.

    Hotel lobbies and other communal areas will be included, however, hotel rooms will not be included in the restrictive rules as these are classed as private spaces.

    Schools, hospitals, hairdressers and public transport are also exempt.

    Additionally, in the winter, buildings and premises included in the rule will not be permitted to raise their heating to a temperature higher than 19C.

    MADRID, SPAIN - JULY 14: Air conditioning units are seen on the exterior of apartment buildings as temperatures continue to soar on July 14, 2022 in Madrid, Spain. Europe is currently experiencing the most sustained period of extreme hot weather in 50 years. (Photo by Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)

    While the rule is not set in law for Spanish households, it has been advised that residents follow it as general advice.

    The rules will come into place on the week beginning 7 August, and will last until November 2023.

    Why have new air conditioning rules been introduced?

    Spanish officials have introduced the new law in an attempt to save energy resources across the country.

    Temperatures in the country have reached into the 40s, with weather experts stating that July 2022 was the second-hottest month on record since 1950.

    Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made the plea to conserve energy across the country during a press conference, and also revealed that he has instructed ministers and public and private sector bosses to removed their ties while at work to cool down naturally.

    The country is also grappling with reducing its reliance on Russian gas while the Ukrainian War is ongoing.

    Alongside the air conditioning limits, stores and government buildings will be forced to turn off lights overnight, however street lighting will still be in use.

    What has been the reaction to the new law?

    Spanish business groups have lambasted the plans. The Mirror reports that Antonio Luque, president of the Seville Hospitality Association, said: “We had a very complicated July with temperatures of 40C in the shade. Having to keep premises at 27C will mean customers being uncomfortable.

    “We hope we will be able to persuade the government to make changes and let the regions with the highest temperatures set cooling systems a bit lower because Seville is not the same as Galicia where the climate is very different.”

    The Madrid Hotel Association have also voiced concerns, saying that they fear it will affect tourism to the country.

    The new law has also been met with criticism by local governments, with Madrid’s region president Isabel Díaz Ayuso tweeting: “Madrid isn’t going to switch off. This generates insecurity and scares away tourism and consumption.”