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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure ES-2022-33/2797 – measures in Spain

Energy saving and air-conditioning plans for publicly frequented buildings

Plan de ahorro energético y climatización (Real Decreto-ley 14/2022)

Country Spain , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 09 August 2022 – 01 November 2023
Context War in Ukraine, Green Transition
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Responses to inflation
Author Oscar Molina (UAB) and Eurofound
Measure added 05 September 2022 (updated 21 September 2022)

Background information

The uncertainty linked to the duration of the war in Ukraine is damaging the international political and economic context, and the exceptional social and economic circumstances that have been dragging on since 2020, derived from numerous factors: the health crisis, the extraordinary and unexpected rise in the prices of certain raw materials and intermediate goods, the high volatility of electricity prices, and the difficulties in the supply of certain essential products and materials. All this is also affecting the Spanish economy as a whole. The economic scenario in which Spain currently finds itself and the persistence of uncertainties at international level continue to require the urgent adoption of exceptional measures in order to ensure sustainability in different economic and social areas.

In order to comply with the solidarity agreements on demand reduction reached at the Extraordinary Council of Energy Ministers on 26 July, as well as to reduce energy dependence on natural gas, it is necessary to adopt measures with immediate effect aimed at responsible energy use that minimise the impact on the economy and security of supply of a partial or total interruption of gas supplies by Russia, and prevent the burden of these possible situations from falling on the most vulnerable.

Content of measure

Royal Decree-Law 14/2022 includes an energy saving and management shock plan for air conditioning in order to rapidly reduce energy consumption in administrative, commercial and public buildings. In this way, the approved regulation complements the Regulation of Thermal Installations in Buildings (RITE), temporarily increasing the management and efficient consumption obligations of these buildings, which specifically extends from 9 August 2022 to 1 November 2023:

  • They must have heating and cooling temperatures limited to 19 and 27 degrees Celsius respectively;
  • Display on posters or screens the mandatory energy-saving measures, including additional measures to reduce consumption.
  • Before 30 September, they must have automatic closures on access doors to prevent them from being left open permanently, with the consequent waste of energy lost to the outside.
  • Shop window lighting must be switched off from 10 p.m. onwards. This also applies to unoccupied public buildings.
  • Those buildings that have passed the energy performance inspection before 1 January 2021 will have to undergo an extraordinary review before 31 December 2022, so that all buildings with relevant air conditioning consumption have passed an inspection within the last two years. Those premises that justify the need to maintain special environmental conditions or have specific regulations (e.g. schools, hospitals, hotel rooms, gyms, museums, hairdressing salons, etc.) do not have to comply with these temperature limitations.

Use of measure

This measure affects public administration buildings; commercial establishments, such as department stores or shopping centres; cultural spaces, such as cinemas or congress centres; or infrastructures for passenger transport, such as stations and airports.

There is no estimated number of buildings affected.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
No special funding required

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Peak or cross-sectoral level

Involvement

In general, trade unions and employers' representatives have not been involved in the adoption of Royal Decree-Law 14/2022. It is a regulation approved by the Spanish government. Trade unions want to reactivate the social dialogue, and want to participate in the design of measures of economic sustainability and support for the most vulnerable social groups.

There is no specific information on this particular measure.

Views and reactions

The trade unions UGT (Union General de Trabajadores) and CCOO (Comisiones Obreras) consider it right that the Energy Saving and Management Plan (Royal Decree-Law 14/2022) is in line with the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety regulations. In other words, Royal Decree-Law 14/2022 states that temperature thresholds must be adjusted to comply with health and safety regulations in the workplace, so that temperature does not become a risk. On the other hand, for CCOO trade union, these energy-saving measures must be accompanied by awareness-raising and education policies so that citizens incorporate the positive value of choosing energy-responsible establishments as a better option. In addition, CCOO considers that the measures announced should not only be of a temporary nature, depending on the war in Ukraine, but also of a structural and permanent nature, in accordance with the effects of change.

Furthermore, for example, the Andalusian delegation of CCOO trade union is asking the Andalusian government for much more ambitious measures of its own, to guarantee a sustainable energy model, which favours the creation of quality jobs and innovative companies, and which contributes to curbing climate change and to maximum energy efficiency. These measures should emerge from social dialogue.

No specific views on this measure from employers' organisations have been identified.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2022), Energy saving and air-conditioning plans for publicly frequented buildings, measure ES-2022-33/2797 (measures in Spain), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/ES-2022-33_2797.html

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