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Thermal installations

More than 50 UNE Standards support the new RITE


The Regulation on Thermal Installations in Buildings (Reglamento de Instalaciones térmicas en los edificios, RITE) has recently been updated, establishing the legislative framework governing safety and efficiency requirements that must be met by this type of facility in such a way as to provide conditions of well-being and hygiene in the indoor environments of buildings.

The new RITE continues to be an example of public-private collaboration in terms of the use of technical standards to support legislation. In particular, in this case, in relation to the Transición Ecológica, the Digital Transformation and technical solutions for thermal systems in buildings.

In fact, over 50 UNE standards on different topics, published by the Spanish Association for Standardization, are mentioned throughout the text:

  • Safety and environmental requirements for refrigerating systems and heat pumps (UNE-EN 378);
  • Efficiency and comfort (UNE-EN ISO 7730, UNE-EN 16798 and UNE-CR 1752 IN);
  • Automation (UNE-EN 15232 and UNE-EN 16484);
  • Inspection (UNE-EN 16798-17 and UNE-EN 15378-1);
  • Insulation and heat load (UNE-EN ISO 12241 and UNE-EN 12831-3);
  • Ducts (UNE-EN 12097, UNE-EN 12237, UNE-EN 13403 and UNE-EN 13180);
  • Etc.

Technical standards efficiently support the regulation and deployment of public policies. Specifically, over 9,250 UNE Standards are cited in national law.

This regulation has been updated at the proposal of the Spanish Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO) and the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA), through the publication in the Official State Gazette (BOE) of 24 March of Royal Decree 178/2021. This update incorporates requirements arising from current European legislation on the energy performance of buildings (Directive 2018/844 and Directive 2018/2002), and promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (Directive 2018/2001).

In addition, in relation to equipment, the new RITE is adapted to the European regulations on ecological design and energy labelling with which they must comply.

This is a first phase of a complete update of the RITE and aims to achieve the climate objectives set out in the 2021-2030 Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (reduction of primary energy consumption by 39.5% by 2030 through an improvement in energy efficiency). In this regard, the use of efficient and sustainable systems is promoted and, in the case of the installation of conventional thermal systems, a justification for their installation is requested by means of a comparison of alternatives, taking into account the technical, environmental and economic feasibility. All of this is based on a focus on performance when setting the requirements and always under a principle of technological neutrality.

It also introduces digitalisation in non-residential buildings with nominal air-conditioning capacities of over 290 kW, in order to take the first steps to convert them into smart buildings, and it modifies the regime under which inspections of thermal systems are carried out.

In a second phase, the RITE will be further updated to adapt it to the technical progress and other European standards.