has been common in Europe for years

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Spain will turn off at night. The Government has decided that the lights in shop windows and public buildings must be turned off after 10:00 p.m. in order to save energy. It is a measure within the framework of the energy crisis that Europe is experiencing, although it is not very clear what real impact it may have. We review what other countries have decided to apply something similar and what we know about its usefulness.


Lights off after 10:00 p.m. Measure is already published in the BOE and will come into effect from August 9. As described, “shop window lighting regulated in section 6 of Complementary Technical Instruction EA-02 of the Regulation on energy efficiency in outdoor lighting installations, must be kept off from 10:00 p.m. This provision will also apply to lighting in public buildings that at that time they are unoccupied”.

In other words, businesses must turn off their lights and also facades and monuments that are not being visited. The validity of this measure will remain until November 1, 2023.

Other measures contemplated with energy saving is that air conditioning will be limited in summer to 27 degrees; it will be forced to have the doors closed when the air conditioning is in operation and extraordinary revisions will be carried out in terms of energy efficiency.

Spain is not alone in the dark. In Germany it was already recommended, now it is also mandatory in some cities. Facing the crisis with Russian gas, cities like Hanover they have announced the turning off of the lights in public monuments, in addition to turning off fountains and imposing cold showers in municipal swimming pools and sports halls.

In Berlin, about 200 historical monuments and public buildings they will also be turned off to try to save energy, including some as well-known as the Victory Column in the Tiergarten park, the Jewish Museum or the Memorial Church on Breitscheidplatz. In total, some 1,400 projectors will be turned off.

In Munich, from this week the lights of the town hall in the Marienplatz square will be turned off. Turning off public lighting varies in each city, but it is somewhat widespread in Germany.

France was a pioneer. In July, the French government of Emmanuel Macron recommended companies, citizens and administrations to turn off the lights when they are not needed. Since then, different municipalities they are also turning off the lights in public buildings.

But it is not something new, since Since 2013, France has forced stores to turn off the lights between 1 and 6 in the morning., or face fines from 750 euros. When it was announced, the initial goal was to try to save some 250,000 tons of CO2, the equivalent of what some 750,000 homes consume per year.

The application to practice was not widespread, since it applied to cities with a population of less than 800,000 inhabitants. Now the French government has announced that it wants to extend it to all parts of the country.

From specific actions to generalized measures. In February, Italian cities like Rome or Turin turned off the lights of its monuments as a protest, in an action reminiscent of the WWF NGO ‘Earth Hour’. As explained then by the National Association of Italian Municipalities, the cost of lighting cost Italy about 1,600 million euros and that this cost was going to increase by 30% due to electricity prices.

Another alternative to turning off the lights is that carried out by cities such as Oslo or the United Kingdom, where progressively has been betting on intelligent lighting that detects the presence and it lights up at 100% when someone is there, otherwise it stays in a saving mode with 20%.

Looking to hit that 7% savings. At the moment there are no data on the effectiveness of these measures. In the case of Berlin, those responsible assure that in the short term it is “determining for the measurement of energy consumption, but not in terms of pure profitability”. A city of Berlin that consumes about 200,000 kilowatt hours per year. Once this time passes, we will see what this figure is and if the measure has contributed to reducing that figure.

The measures of the different countries are part of the objective of trying to achieve a 15% cut in energy consumption. It is the percentage that Europe asks for gas, but the countries understand that global energy consumption must be lowered. According to data from the International Energy Agencyif all the recommendations of the European Union are followed, the typical household could save about 500 euros per year, which would mean an overall saving of about 220 million barrels of oil per year and about 17,000 million cubic meters of natural gas.

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Spain, due to its exceptional nature, has set the energy target at 7-8%, instead of the European 15%. The obligation to turn off public lighting and that of shops at night is one of the many measures to try to reach these figures. It is unknown to what extent it will have a relevant weight in that intention.

Spain will turn off at night. The Government has decided that the lights in shop windows and public buildings must…

Spain will turn off at night. The Government has decided that the lights in shop windows and public buildings must…

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