The building industry in Spain is about to undergo legal changes of importance during the present year, some of them relating to climate change and energy transition, or to the new 2018-21 State Housing Plan.

Modification of the Technical Building Code (CTE)

One of the most significant changes the amendment of the Technical Building Code brings about is the one regarding energy efficiency in buildings. Changes to the Code incorporate the revision of the Basic Document of Energy Conservation (DBHE) in order to fit edification into the established standards as regards energy conservation. With such adjustments, it is intended that new buildings have nearly zero-energy consumption through the use of renewable energies such as solar, geothermal or biomass, and thanks as well to sustainable building, which seeks to adapt the building to the environment where it is located, by making use of renewable materials that imply for their production and transport as little resource and energy consumption as possible.

Another improvements that will be carried out with this modification is the revision and update of energy efficiency requirements every five years at the most so that they are adapted to the technical advances that take place in matters of edification, as it is exposed according to the Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings.

The new Technical Building Code will be provided as well with more accurate and reliable energy efficiency indicators and in need of fewer adjustments than those required as of today.

The main purpose of the revision of the Energy Conservation document DBHE is to comply as much as possible with the current European law, but it is also willing to achieve zero-energy consumption in newly built constructions, which would enable that such buildings were rated with an A or B-grade energy label or class (the two highest energy efficiency ratings). However, this revision does not intend to improve only the energy rating of newly built constructions but also that those being restored may improve their rating significantly, going slightly towards the “nearly zero” energy consumption, which would entail an important reduction in CO2 and other polluting agents emissions into the atmosphere.

Melhoria da acessibilidade e do conforto nos condomínios

2018-21 State Housing Plan

The objective of the State Housing Plan focuses on building restoration, relying mainly on three subjects: accessibility, energy conservation and urban renewal:

  • Accessibility. The purpose of accessibility focuses on two factors: urbanism and population ageing. With regard to urbanism, governments have to consider that half of the world population lives in big cities and in consequence, improvements guaranteeing housing and resources to citizens need to be performed. As for population ageing, in Spain for instance, population growth is zero, and there are more than 8 million people over 65, for which reason it is essential to invest in infrastructure enhancement in order to guarantee universal accessibility. Through the installation of automatic doors, for instance, universal accessibility can be guaranteed for this sector of population but also for people with reduced mobility, and they can also enhance comfort for people in general. Besides enabling the free passage of people, automatic doors help to reduce building energy consumption by creating more efficient environments.

With regard to oldest buildings (before 1996), this Plan relies on ten different programmes for improvement regarding energy efficiency and accessibility:

  • Restoration programme. It will be regulated by Royal Decree by means of a previous agreement between the autonomous regions.
  • Energy Efficiency promotion subprogram, from which dwellings edified before 1996 will benefit. Collective dwellings might receive funds up to 8,000 Euros, while single family dwellings might receive them up to 12,000.
  • Accessibility subprogram. It will manage funds between 2,000 and 6,000 Euros, so that maintenance and accessibility works might be carried out.
  • Urban and rural renewal subprogram. It is intended with this subprogram to avoid the rural population drift by means of the restoration and urbanisation of these areas.

Climate Change and Energy Transition Law

The Government of Spain will deal with a variety of topics, amongst them, its participation at the European conventions on climate change, the goals with regard to emissions, the adaptation to European policies regarding climate, or the model of energy transition that will be performed.

The Climate Change Law sets out the need for integrating with one single law the strategies and protocols currently existing in this area. Thanks to this Law, it is intended that Spain may comply as soon as possible with the objectives set by Europe in matters of sustainability and environment.