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Planning for Energy Efficiency in a Historic City. The Case of Santiago de Compostela, Spain

1 Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, Department of Urbanism, Delft, THE NETHERLANDS
2 University of Vigo, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Vigo, SPAIN
3 University of Santiago de Compostela, Technological Research Institute, Santiago de Compostela, SPAIN


Abstract. Santiago de Compostelais well-known for its historic core of exceptional quality, as a World Heritage Site. Due to its mild climate, its large amount of green areas, andits compact urban pattern with mixed functions, it has a low level of residential energy consumption, but not in its historic core, in which monumental buildings of different age combine with dwellings in a pedestrianised urban environment. The European 20-20-20 targets present big challenges for historic areas such as Santiago. The present study assesses Santiago’s strengths and weaknesses in terms of urban planning and energy efficiency, and explores what local planning can do for the adaptation of the historic centre to energy-efficiency considerations. The findings show that local plans have paid attention to environmental issues differently in the past decades, according to each period’s priorities. Only recently, local planning has addressedenergy efficiency issue, mainly in the case of public infrastructure. They also suggest a limited capacity of the local authorities to pursue energy efficiency goals at a residential level, and serious lack of knowledge about the actual energy situation. A proactive role of the local government towards energy efficiency requires the commitment of all stakeholders. The presence of institutions specialized in urban regeneration, such as the ‘Consorcio’, gathering the most important local stakeholders, suggests positive outcomes if long-term coordination is achieved.

K e y w o r d s:  energy efficiency of historic buildings, regeneration of historic centres, urban energy planning, building adaptation to energy efficiency, Santiago de Compostela