Germany bans most public buildings over 19 degrees

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Germany bans most public buildings over 19 degrees

The economy minister has said that most public buildings will not be allowed to go above 19 degrees Celsius due to the energy crisis.

The German economy minister and vice Chancellor Robert Habeck said on Friday that public buildings will not be allowed to set temperatures above 19 degrees Celsius in the fall and winter due to a burgeoning energy crisis.

In an interview with Suddeutsche Zeitung, Habeck said that new energy saving regulations would be issued as part of the Energy Security Act. In addition to the previously announced ban on heating private pools, the minister said that public properties, except hospitals and social facilities, should only be heated to 19 degrees. The minister says that buildings and monuments will not be lit at night and restrictions will be imposed on illuminated advertising.

More savings are also needed in the work environment, Habeck said, adding that discussions were taking place with the relevant authorities.

The minister has previously called for people to cut back on their heating, sauna visits, and showers to help the country reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

His new announcement came several days after Klaus Mueller, the head of Germany's grid regulator, told German families to save 20% of their normal energy consumption in order to avoid gas shortages by December. Mueller told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper last week that if we don't save a lot and get extra fuel, we're going to have a problem.

Germany has been bracing for an energy crisis as the EU attempts to reduce the reliance on Russian energy amid a standoff over Moscow's military action in Ukraine. The price of gas has risen significantly this year due to anti-Russian sanctions and a decrease in Russian natural gas supplies to Europe. Some German cities have taken drastic measures to reduce energy consumption. In public buildings, Hannover ordered switching off hot water while Duesseldorf plans to speed up the transition to LED lights and lower the water temperature in municipal indoor pools by two degrees Celsius.

German media outlets are expecting a wave of protests this fall and winter due to growing fuel and food prices.

Other EU countries have taken similar measures to deal with the looming energy deficit. According to a decree of the Spanish government, shops, department stores, cinemas, hotels and public buildings can not have air conditioning set below 27 degrees Celsius in the summer or above 19 degrees in the winter. Access doors to the premises must close automatically to ensure air doesn't get out, and shop windows must be turned off at 10 pm. The penalties for non-compliance with restrictions will range from €60,000 for minor offenses to a maximum of €600,000 for serious violations, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has rejected Western accusations that Moscow could cut off gas supplies to the EU, saying that Russian energy giant Gazprom was ready to pump as much as necessary, but that the bloc had closed everything themselves. He called its sanctions on Russia insane and thoughtless, and accused EU leaders of committing economic suicide by attempting to give up Russian energy.