Spain´s new Building Technical Code (BTC)
Last year, Spain approved a new construction standard that will require all new or renovated buildings to cover 30% to 70% of their domestic hot water demand with solar thermal energy. It partially adapted a EU directive on Energy efficient buildings, being the first European country to make these requirements and thus becoming a model for policy makers around the world.
In the U.S., the D.O.E. has a Building Energy Codes Program, but the most substantive movements in this direction have been mainly at the state level, like Gov. Schwarzenegger´s One million solar roofs initiative and New solar homes partnership.
The BTC or CTE by its acronym in Spanish, supports the goal of the country´s Renewable Energy Plan 2000-2010 of installing around 54 million square feet in thermal panels and increasing photovoltaic energy production from 143 MW to 400 MW by 2010.
The Spanish Institute for Energy Diversification and Saving estimates that these changes will reduce energy consumption in buildings by between 30% and 40%
You may read a translation to English of key sections of the BTC code here
Some cities are leading the push for even more stringent thresholds. The city of Barcelona has a specific Solar ordinance with the same design as the BTC. It is the only European city having special legislation concerning the use of solar energy. The Solar Ordinance, which came into force in August 2000, affects newly built, rehabilitated and fully reformed buildings. The law mandates the use of solar energy for 60% of their sanitary hot water supplies.
The city has a global energy improvement plan, which forms the general framework for the work of the Barcelona City Council in matters of energy policy and its environmental impact on the city.
This energy plan comprises a total of 55 projects establishes as well as a set of local action measures addressed to the achievement of a more sustainable city model, while reducing environmental impact through energy savings, an increase in the use of renewable energies and energy efficiency.
Picture to the left: Solar Pergola in Barcelona
With the size of a soccer field (367×164 feet), it is one of the newest landmarks in in the city. It consists of 2,668 monocrystalline Isofoton modules (approx. annual yield of 554 MWh/year).
More information: Barcelona Energy Agency