Videos

Behind the Scenes in Barcelona's Innovative Solar Energy Program

The Catalan city is leading the way.

Image
TMB/Flickr

I’m not writing much this week, because I’m traveling, very glad to be away from U.S. presidential politics but concerned for all my colleagues and friends affected by the storm. 

I am quite fortunate to be in Barcelona, which is not only host to spectacular modernista architecture and the world’s best futbol team but also a city with considerable green ambition.  From clean redevelopment of brownfields to a sophisticated intermodal transit system to bike sharing to waste reduction and recycling, the city has strived to be innovative in implementing green practices.

It is in the field of solar energy, though, where this sunny city has made its greatest impact so far. All new and significantly rehabbed buildings are obliged by law to install solar panels for the production of domestic hot water. Sports arenas, hospitals, schools and any building that uses more than 2,000 liters of water per day have been required to retrofit their facilities to incorporate solar panels.  This video tells the story:

Photo courtesy of Flickr user TMB.

This post originally appeared on the NRDC's Switchboard blog.

About the Author

  • Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. More
    Kaid Benfield is the director of the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and co-founder of Smart Growth America. He is the author or co-author of Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), and Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009). In 2009, Kaid was voted one of the "top urban thinkers" on Planetizen.com, and he was named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. He blogs at NRDC's Switchboard.