05 November 2018

Renovation clicks into action mode

pelletier_1.jpg[INTERVIEW WITH : Philippe Pelletier, Chairman of the Sustainable Building Plan]

The course toward carbon neutrality by 2050 involves pressing forward urgently with building energy renewal policy. This in turn means getting renovation moving on a large scale. Philippe Pelletier, Chairman of the Sustainable Building Plan, takes a look at the levers that need actuating in order to succeed


What are the housing renovation objectives and what stage are they at ?

Renovating half a million dwellings a year and doing so efficiently is the challenge we have to set ourselves in order to generalize low energy consumption housing by 2050. In terms of results so far, impetus in the renovation of affordable-rent housing has been nicely maintained and provides a real improvement in occupants’ comfort, combined with significant savings in ancillary rental expenses. The emphasis must now shift to private housing, with increased means.

The TREMI* survey by the French government’s energy and environment agency ADEME shows that in 2017, only one private renovation project in four concerned energy. Although this isn’t actually a bad result, the figure reinforces the idea that energy renovation should be done alongside other work as it also represents an improvement in comfort, which is the primary reason home owners renovate. The survey’s second revelation is that only 15% of households who have upgraded their energy systems have done so with information and assistance. There is thus an urgent need to simplify access to energy renovation in homes and secure the necessary means to inform and guide householders.


How do you get all the stakeholders involved in these matters ? 

That’s the whole reason behind the FAIRE (Favour, Accompany, Inform in the Renovation of Energy) campaign launched this autumn. Much more than just a communication campaign, FAIRE must become the renovation gatepost, the entry point for getting information on what actions to take and the aids available for access to recognized, trained professionals. It’s gradually becoming a yardstick, bringing together the information campaign, the dedicated website, and above all the whole network of advisers present in a region under a single name.

The next step is to deploy this common signature across the ecosystem of public and private stakeholders in order to truly get the whole sector moving. Very soon, a charter will be signed with all the renovation interested parties—federations, associations, certification and qualification bodies, energy engineers, energy efficiency certificate assignees, DIY superstores, and others, so that they can all “join the FAIRE”, thereby multiplying information channels while clarifying the renovation pathway for private owners. 


What are the Renovation Plan’s priorities ?

First of all, we need stop private homes leaking heat like sieves. Then we have to renovate district-owned buildings. The priority for private homes is to target 1.5 million homes riddled with energy leaks and occupied by household with modest incomes who creak under the strain of their heating bills. That’s 150,000 homes a year over 10 years, and to get there, the “Habiter Mieux” (live better) programme sponsored by the government’s homes agency has been boosted with €1.2bn euros over 5 years and given an objective of 75,000 renovations per year, which will lead to a considerable increase in upgrades.

Parallel to this incentive, additional funding requirements will be dealt with in the form of a “Habiter Mieux” eco-loan, available only to modest-income households and activated by the Energy Renovation Guarantee Fund.
Energy economy certificates are also an important part of the landscape of means that can be mobilized.

Alongside, to support private initiatives and help renovate the remaining 75,000 heat sinks every year, a new ecosystem needs implementing. We are working on creating partnerships between manufacturers, contractors, and the banks to offer financially optimized renovation operations to modest households.

Next in the line of priorities is assistance to local authorities, notably the smaller ones, with energy renovation of their public amenities. €2.5bn euros will be mobilized by the public funder Caisse des Depôts, with the implementation of new legal and financial tools like energy performance contracts, which will see large-scale deployment. We are also in favour of privileging school and college buildings.
Success comes through commitment and the involvement of all stakeholders, large and small alike, in order to spread the ambition and translate it into solutions. 

* Tremi (French acronym) survey on energy renovation work in houses — 2017  ©ADEME

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