Vienna provides impulse for renewable heat

On 1st January 2013 the Austrian capital Vienna, a metropolis with 1.7 million inhabitants, will introduce new building regulations which are set to provide a boost to sustainable energies. In future, all building and renovation projects that affect at least 25% of the building's shell will have to include highly efficient technologies. The "highly efficient technologies" in question are decentralized energy supply systems derived from renewable sources, combined heat and power plants, district heating and cooling systems - primarily using renewable energies - and heat pumps with an annual coefficient of performance (COP) of more than three.

The old building regulations also required efficiency, but the term "renewable energies" appeared less often. They were already required for decentralized energy systems, but not for district heating or the newly added district cooling systems. Heat pumps are confronted with stricter regulations. A minimum COP was not previously demanded. The required value of three, however, no longer presents any technological problems and all the manufacturers should be able to meet this requirement without much effort.

The Austrian industry association Austria Solar is satisfied and has stated that: "The new regulations will provide impetus for the planning of all solar thermal systems in Vienna." Austria is traditionally strong in solar thermal, although in recent years the market has been shrinking.

Jan Gesthuizen

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