Spanish homes must make changes to central heating systems
After the Royal Decree that was published on August 6 in the Official State Gazette (BOE), by May 2023, it is estimated that around 1.4 million homes in Spain will have to make modifications to their heating systems. Individual meters will have to be installed in each home, especially those that belong to neighborhood communities, as a result of the new law approved by the Ministry of the Environment.
The general rule is that properties built before 1998 will be the ones affected by this law. These homes will have the “obligation to install individual meters that measure the consumption of thermal energy of each consumer, provided it is technically feasible, and economically profitable”.
Homes constructed after 1998 should already be compliant with the Regulation of Thermal Installations in Buildings (RITE), a legislation that has had to be followed since that date when installing heating systems in new properties.
Two deadlines have been established. First, a quote must be obtained from a reputable installation company regulated by the RITE. This must be for the cost of adapting the existing installation, and this quote can be given for free when done before 2022.
Secondly, is the deadline by which this work must be completed. According to the Spanish Association of Heating Cost Distributors (ACERCA), the work must be completed no later than 15 months after the date on the quotation.
Are there exceptions to this legislation? Yes, there are!
• Buildings located in the archipelagos or in the warmest areas of the Mediterranean coast: the islands, Levante area, Guadalquivir, Ceuta, and Melilla, are exempt.
• If the investment is not profitable in 4 years, because the cost of the installation is not offset by the savings generated during that period.
• That the thermal installation the building has is of the ‘series montubo’ type, that is, that it provides the service to more than one user within the same ring.
The decree states that “whenever it is technically possible, financially reasonable, and proportionate in relation to the potential energy savings, individual meters must be installed at a competitive price. These will accurately reflect the real energy consumption of the end customer, and provide information on the real-time of use”.
Where it is not possible to install an individual meter – which is installed directly in each home that needs adapting and calculates exactly the heating in kWh – a cost allocator can be installed instead. This is fitted on each radiator individually, measuring its consumption units.
If the consumer is vulnerable, he or she may be able to benefit from direct assistance to comply with this obligation.
The difference between installing a meter or individual cost allocators is that the meter is going to give a more precise reading. As far as the investment is concerned, each allocator costs about €30, while a meter can cost about €250. In Spain, around 180,000 homes have already made these changes, and, according to data, they have shown an estimated saving of 24 per cent, as reported by gndiario.com.