Spain Is Limiting Air Conditioning to Conserve Energy. Will It Impact Your Trip?

Escaping the sweltering summer heat just got a lot harder

Costa Brava

George Clerk / Getty Images

Planning a trip to Spain this summer? Escaping the sweltering summer heat may be more challenging than usual. Beginning this week and lasting through November 2023, public and commercial buildings in Spain will be required to keep summer air conditioning above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The new rule applies to museums, movie theaters, performance spaces, restaurants, shopping malls, train stations, and airports. Schools, including universities, as well as hospitals, gyms, hair salons, and laundromats are not included.

Along with temperature regulation, doors are mandated to be closed when air conditioning is turned on, and lights in store windows must be switched off after 10 p.m.

The restrictions come as part of a broader effort to conserve energy as Europe explores ways to roll back its dependence on Russian gas amidst the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. A recent agreement across the European Union called for member countries to trim their gas usage by 15 percent through next winter. Spain, which relies less on Russia than some of its fellow E.U. countries, was able to negotiate cutting back at a lower rate of 7 percent.

This summer's brutal heatwaves, however, aren't helping matters. According to reports, 1,047 heat-related deaths in Spain occurred during the week of July 10 to July 19 alone. In efforts to escape the oppressive temperatures, reliance on air conditioning has increased, making it more difficult for the country to hold up its end of the bargain.

Complicating matters even more, some parts of the country are pushing back against the restrictions. Politician Isabel Diaz Ayuso, president of the Community of Madrid, has vowed to challenge the new rules in court.

"Madrid isn't going to switch off," said Ayuso in a Twitter statement. "That generates insecurity and scares off tourism and consumption. It brings darkness, poverty, and sadness, even as the government covers up the question of what savings it will apply to itself."

Spain won't be the only European country to roll out restrictions in the coming months. Italy and Greece have both vowed to limit air conditioning use, and air-conditioned stores in France will be mandated to keep their doors closed and reduce lighting while cooling is on.

Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Bloomberg. "Spain Air Conditioning Crackdown Set to Take Effect." August 8, 2022.

  2. Bloomberg. "Spain Air Conditioning Crackdown Set to Take Effect." August 8, 2022.

  3. Bloomberg. "EU Nations Back 15% Gas-Cut Target as Russia Reduces Flows." July 26, 2022.

  4. Axios. "Heat Wave Kills More Than 2,000 People in Spain and Portugal." July 21, 2022.

  5. The Guardian. "Spain Puts Limits on Air Conditioning and Heating to Save Energy." August 2, 2022.

  6. The Guardian. "Doors Shut, Ties Ditched: What are EU Countries Doing to Save Energy?" July 29, 2022.