The Italian government will force air conditioning in public buildings to be shut down this summer as it seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.
Under the new rules, dubbed the operating thermostat by Italian media, air conditioners in public buildings, including schools and ministries, cannot be set below 27 degrees Celsius. In winter, heating systems must not heat buildings above 19 degrees, although a margin of 2 degrees is allowed. So far, public buildings could be cooled to 26 degrees.
Those who do not comply face fines of 500 to 3,000 euros.
The measures were passed as an amendment in Parliament last week after rising energy prices and the government trying to diversify Italy’s gas imports – the country imports around 40 percent of its gas from Russia. Moscow this week halted gas supplies to two EU members, Poland and Bulgaria, stoking fears about the future of energy supplies.
The text of the amendment, tabled by MPs Angela Masi and Davide Crippa of the 5-Star eco-friendly movement, says that the aim is to “reduce the thermal consumption of buildings and achieve immediate annual energy savings”.
By turning off air conditioning, the government wants to save 4 billion cubic meters of gas this year. The measures will come into effect on May 1st and will apply until April 2023.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi has blamed European purchases of Russian energy at inflated prices for financing the invasion of Ukraine and warned that cracking down on Russia could mean difficult lifestyle choices.
“Do we want to be quiet or do we want the air conditioning on?” he said at a press conference earlier this month.
Italy’s gas needs will be covered until October, even if Moscow turns off the taps, Draghi said.
https://www.politico.eu/article/operation-thermostat-italy-turns-down-air-conditioning-in-bid-to-reduce-dependence-on-russian-gas/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Operating thermostat! Italy rejects air conditioning to reduce dependence on Russian gas - POLITICO