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Maburg becomes first green town in Germany
© dpa-Bildfunk
German town first to require solar panels on new buildings

June 25, 2008

Marburg, a German college town of about 80,000, has become the first in the country to make solar heating obligatory for newly built or renovated buildings.

The law, passed on Friday, June 20 by a coalition of Social Democrats and Greens is slated to take effect on Oct. 1, the bill stipulates that the solar panels have to measure one square meter (10 square feet) for every 20 square meters of the building's surface area. Those who don't comply with the new law will face fines starting at 1,000 euros -- dramatically reduced from the initially proposed 15,000 euros.

Exceptions are to be made, however, for buildings that are principally heated from a district heating network, a combined heat and power generator, or a wood pellet oven.

Though Marburg's measures are the country's most ambitious so far, it is not the first town to take legal steps toward saving energy and slashing carbon dioxide emissions. The right-wing government in the southern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg already requires new houses to meet 20 percent of their heating needs with renewable energy sources.

In addition, the federal German cabinet recently approved a comprehensive climate plan aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by nearly 40 percent by the year 2020. The package includes higher standards for energy efficiency in new and renovated buildings as of 2009.



© Deutsche Welle / German Information Centre
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