DIRECTION Site Valladolid

Country & City: 
  • Spain
  • Valladolid
Contact Information: 
Sergio Sanz
Centro Tecnológico CARTIF

The Spanish demo site is located in the centre of Spain, under a Mediterranean Continental Climate. The building, known as CARTIF III, has 4,075 m² of floor space and will be used for CARTIF Technology Centre research activities, with both offices and test facilities.

The design and construction of the building follows the innovative approach of the DIRECTION project. Therefore, this demo site is a very low energy building that integrates different strategies and solutions for energy saving, therefore improving the overall energy efficiency.

Technological approach

  • Energy efficient buildings - new buildings:

The main façade is south oriented. Envelope minimizes thermal energy and light electrical demand through glass walls and louvers blinds, which improves solar gain and a blind with oriented louvers, fixed to optimize the daylight use and avoid glare;

High efficiency lighting;

Advanced building management system (BMS).

  • Photovoltaic:

45 kWp photovoltaic, which allows a contribution of 15 kWh/m²yr.

  • Heat pump:

Geothermal heat pump with seasonal performance for the office area, which allows to balance the energy absorbed from and dumped to the ground, so the annual thermal need to heat this area is null.

  • Biomass boiler:

A very high performance biomass boiler (> 90 %) provides all the necessary thermal energy for the industrial buildings and the Domestic Hot Water (DHW).

  • Mechanical ventilation and heat recovery:

Free-cooling system for the entire building that allows a considerable reduction in cooling requirements.

Key technical Performance Indicators - results

The Direction project main objective is to develop new buildings based on energy efficient concepts. Since there is no retrofitting of existing buildings and therefore, there is not existing data to compare the performance of the new systems, it is important to define a baseline based on the energy performance of reference buildings. This reference can be established either by state of the art or minimal requirements by law.

Therefore, the KPI for the new building are compared in the next sections with a baseline based on a reference building.

Energy Performance

As a result of the energy efficiency and RES interventions both thermal energy and electricity consumption are cut in half compared to the reference building as seen in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Final energy demand and consumption of reference, design and monitored building

Compared to the design data a reduction in final energy demand of 29 % can be achieved. In comparison with business-as-usual (reference building) the final energy savings amount to 53 % as seen in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Comparison final energy demand (reference and design) and final energy consumption (monitored)

Primary Energy and CO2-Emissions

For the assessment of primary energy requirements primary energy factors from the data collection sheets are available. For higher accuracy, the values used for the calculations on the project’s website are acquired in cooperation with the Cartif Energy Division. If not stated in neither data collection sheets nor project deliverables, desktop research is conducted and values from trustworthy sources used (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Primary energy needed for reference, design and monitored building

As a result of interventions undertaken a total annual amount of 103.4 tonnes of CO2 (25.4 kgCO2/m²a) can be saved in comparison to the reference building. In relative numbers this is an emissions reduction of 70 %. The monitored CO2 emissions amount to 46 tonnes per year (11.26 kgCO2/m²a) (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: CO2 emissions of reference, design and monitored building

Key Financial Indicators

The investment costs and energy prices are extracted from the provided deliverables and analysed as to their validity. The electricity price for the year 2014 in Valladolid is 0.13 €/kWh for electricity (industry) and corresponds to values from Eurostat statistics. The energy price for wood chips with 30 % moisture is corrected from 0.21 (data collection sheet) to 0.021 €/kWh after intensive research. The energy price for grid-connected gas for 2014 is 0.037 €/kWh accord ding to Eurostat statistics. The payback period depends greatly on the energy prices used (household or industry). Considering the gas price alone, if the gas price for households is used, the payback period decreases by five years. With the provided information and calculated energy savings the payback period for design and monitoring data is calculated. For the payback period calculation of the demonstration site a discount rate of 3 % and an inflation rate for the energy carriers of 3 % is assumed.


The investment costs associated with energy efficiency and RES interventions amount to 544,660 € and are distributed across the interventions as stated in next table.

Table 1: Distribution of investment costs across interventions

Energy savings and energy cost savings

The total energy savings compared to the reference building are 177 MWh per year. The respective energy cost savings are 18,181 € per year with the reference building as the baseline. Compared to the design 3,378 € in energy costs are saved annually. The distribution of the energy and energy cost savings across energy usage is shown below.

Table 2: Energy and energy cost savings of monitored building compared to design and reference building

Payback period

Table 3: Payback period for designed and reference building as baseline

The total costs of the reference building are 3,463,301 € and those of the new building 4,113,378 €. With a cost difference of 650,077 € the payback period of the monitored building with the reference building as the baseline is 35.8 years  as shown in Table ‎3‑3. On the one hand, this value is higher than the average payback period of 30 years for eligible costs related to energy efficiency measures as stated in the European Commission decision from 2013. On the other hand, the longer payback period reflects the core energy efficiency measures with a longer life cycle (see IEA energy efficiency market report 2015) such as energy efficient insulation and other façade parts. The payback period of the monitored building with the designed building as the baseline is 46.6 years.

The same value for investment costs is used for the designed and monitored building. The calculation of the payback period ignores financial gains due to potential rental changes. That is why the potential for a lower payback period exists and would need a different analysis for a building in private hands. The payback period is a challenge and would need to be reduced if private replication is sought. What is unclear is the return to investment of the components, a factor that could be of importance.

Financial & Economic

Financial & Economic
Encountered barriers

In Spain there was a change of the photovoltaic and auto-consumption legislation that deeply affected the viability of the project. Controversial changes in the support schemes in Spain in 2010, 2013 and 2014, first abolished the feed-in-tariff and later introduced an access toll to the electricity grid. Over-production is no longer a revenue generating option and it has made the project economically non-viable.


Since the buildings have no energy storage capacity, the project saw as necessary to install regulators on the panels in order to limit electricity production, a solution that meant losing energy and revenue. The site had also attempted to divert some of the extra energy for other uses, such as making sure in advance that the building will not overheat during the summer. 

Valladolid Demo Site

Regulations & standards, Financial & Economic, Risks & uncertainties, Regulatory & Administrative, Energy