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Guidelines for Integrated territorial Planning:
Small wind turbine

The following guidelines come from a deep analysis of case studies, innovative products, norms and regulations, in relation to the local level. This analysis is summarized in a card that can be downloaded in Italian language.

Small wind turbines, as other wind systems, convert wind kinetic energy into mechanical energy, which is normally used to produce electricity through a wind generator. Although no formal definition for these systems still exists; these could be divided in two categories according to different sizes and rated powers: micro wind turbines (with rated power up to 20 kW and rotor diameter up to about 8 m) and mini wind turbines (with rated power from 20 to 200 kW and rotor diameter between about 8 and 20 m). Some authors also speak about pico wind turbines with rated power up to 1 kW and diameter less than 1,5 m. Small wind turbines usually produce electricity for domestic and residential use and may be used in stand alone power system or on-grid system. Today the market offers a wide range of small wind turbines, characterized by turbine axis orientation (horizontal or vertical), number and geometry of the blades. For their climatic condition, the MED countries represent a good geographic area for the diffusion of the wind systems in the building trade. In particular, mini and micro wind turbines are suitable to be installed also in urban environment (unlike bigger wind generators): they have small size, a lower cut-in wind speed and are designed to minimize noise due to the moving blades. Despite the advantages regarding the exploitation of local wind generation into cities, nowadays the visual impact is one of the most significant obstacles to the development of small wind turbines. At the building scale the physical characteristics of wind turbines (for example, shape, size and colour) could influence the architectural aesthetic. At a larger scale, in particular the layout and the number of wind turbines could influence the typical layout of the landscape. Other cultural aspects, as the lack of information with respect to wind systems and low level of public environmental awareness, are crucial for the social acceptance of small wind turbines and the successful development of building-integrated turbines. Actually the insufficient clearness of local regulations on mini and micro wind turbines discourage the diffusion of these technologies. Rather programs to support a wider diffusion in urban areas in the future or specific regulations for encouraging the architectural integration of small wind turbines in urban and periurban landscapes don’t exist yet. Although Italy has transposed EU directives on regarding the environmental protection and the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources in its national laws, the regional regulations often conflict with heritage conservation requirements. In particular, there are not design guidelines which clearly define how acting, whether the intervention regards existing buildings or new construction in historical context. This could entail a sort of gap and a series of bureaucratic resistance by the public servants that often limit or completely stop the application of mini and micro wind systems.

The diffusion of wind systems in the local context, considering the weakness defined, could be implemented thanks to the following actions:

Indication for the Bio-construction Action Plan

Pursuant to the guidelines written above, are here synthetically reported the criteria/examples for pilot projects to be financed in MED territory, in relation with the specific treated theme. These criteria/examples, together with the ones resulting from all the themes of eco-construction tool matrix, will make up a Bio-construction Action Plan for each partner countries.

Possible criteria for MED bio-housing quality certificate

The internationally recognized green building certifications, normally give few indications about aesthetic quality of building-integrated wind turbines. This happens for the most common Italian certification systems, the “Protocollo Itaca”, the Italian version of “Green Building Challenge” (made by a network of 25 countries) and the “LEED Italia”.  In “Protocollo Itaca” for residential buildings, for example, the index named “Criterio 1.5” (the percentage of the average annual electricity needs met by renewable energy) doesn’t consider the architectural integration, it is just a valid parameter to reduce Energy consumption.  This kind of evaluation, even though complex, is faced by some local regulations (see attached in PDF Italian card); for example, the fact sheetattached to article 53 of the “Bio-eco sustainable building regulation” of some Tuscan municipality. Although these local regulations don’t completely solve the aesthetic problems about architectonical integration, they could be considered as possible criteria for a MED bio-housing quality certificate.

Case studies

In the attached Italian card are also mentioned significant projects where small wind turbines are installed.

Download PDF (Italian language)