I detest air conditioning. It plays merry hell with my eyes and sinuses, and I avoid entering premises that feel like walk-in cold storage units in the summer months.
Last week I lay back shivering in a dentist’s chair in Benidorm for more than three hours while an orthodontist performed a complicated procedure on a molar that had gone horribly bad. When I returned to Via Parque Dental & Salud for a brief check-up I politely asked a nurse to turn off the air conditioner. She looked at me as if I was totalmente loco.
So when I learned today that Spain, under a decree that comes into effect next week, will not allow air conditioners in public buildings, shopping centres, cinemas, theatres, rail stations and airports to be set below 27C (80.6 Fahrenheit) I let loose a loud cheer.
But The Mirror reports on Spain’s energy-saving measures as if they were somehow a Very Bad Thing:
British holidaymakers have been warned of new air conditioning rules in Spain that could leave them sizzling amid heat alerts. A new law has been passed which means Spanish shops, offices and hospitality venues will no longer be able to set their cooling systems below 27C in the summer. Heating should not be set above 19C [66.2 Fahrenheit] ….Doors will need to be closed so as not to waste energy, and lights in shop windows must be switched off after 10pm.
The Guardian adds:
The measures, which were published in Tuesday’s edition of the official state gazette, will remain in force until November 2023. These lay out a series of measures to save energy and use it more efficiently, which are urgent and necessary when it comes to reducing energy consumption in general, and reducing our dependence on energy outside the Spanish economy.
Home use and energy-saving tips
Neither the Mirror nor El País reports that the measures apply to home use, so I assume that households remain unaffected.
I have three huge wall-mounted air conditioners in my apartment—one in each of two bedrooms and the third in the living room—and, since taking occupation in 2010 of our fabulous apartment in Sol de Poniente II, I have never used any of them, making do instead with a freestanding water-cooled unit that cost me less than 100 euros, and is used very occasionally.
This is because the west-facing apartment is on the 31st floor and is constantly filled with cooling breezes. As I write this, the temperature is a tolerable 31 degrees ((66.2 Fahrenheit).
This, of course, limits my electricity usage. My average monthly bill is around 50 euros, which makes one wonder why on earth fuel prices in the UK have been allowed to soar to at all all-time highs, and are set to rise further at a time when providers are making indecently high profits.
Other factors that keep my energy costs low are using an induction hob and a table-top halogen oven to prepare food, rather than the cooker. In the summer I hardly cook at all and just eat cold salads, which my husband Marcus claims is turning him into a rabbit. I also turn the boiler down to its lowest setting.