Engaged in a process of decarbonising its economy, France seeks to move to an accelerated pace towards the success of its energy transition. To do this, the renovation of the housing stock must change the existing housing stock towards a clean and energy efficient model, a prerequisite to move towards a responsible and sustainable future.
Towards carbon neutrality?
Since the entry into force of the Energy Transition Law for green growth and the signing of the Paris Agreement, France has emerged as a major player in the fight against global warming on the international stage. A position nevertheless dependent on the results obtained in terms of carbon reduction.
In 2018, it reduced its CO2 emissions by 3.5%, which is an above-average decrease as compared to the average of the 28 countries of the European Union (2.5%). France accounted last year for 10% of CO2 emissions in the European Union, on par with Poland and Italy. Germany was the largest contributor (22%), followed by the United Kingdom (11.4%).
To reach the neutrality of its GHG emissions by 2050, a genuine change of direction has to take place. It’s the building sector in particular that finds itself in the crosshairs: with 27% of GHG emissions, it alone accounts for 45% of the country’s final energy consumption.
The key focus: a renovation in accordance with environmental issues
Of the 35 million homes in France, only 425,000 new homes are built each year. It is therefore on the existing heritage that we should refocus our efforts, especially when one knows that barely 15% of the housing stock is considered as energy-efficient (against 36% of the public housing stock).
Announced a year ago, the plan for energy renovation of buildings aims to accelerate the process, by acting primarily on the 7 million “thermal strainers” identified in the country, a way for the country to strengthen its efforts to combat energy poverty.
If the directions set out in this plan are going in the right way with regard to the current environmental and social urgency, the carbon factor must continue having its full place in the way in which renovation is thought of and carried out on the ground.
Neglecting this issue in favour of the sole energy criterion would increase the risk of never achieving the zero CO2 objective, a risk that is all the more present when we know that 27% of renovation operations do not improve the environmental label of the housing, and that 10% of them go so far as to degrade it.
Focusing on a responsible renovation, where all the key items of the building are considered in relation to their environmental footprint and their performances, is the best way to ensure a result in phase with the energy transition requirements. An approach that will promote the use of bio-based materials, short and local supply chains, and clean and carbon-free energy sources.
At a time of an overall climate mobilization and the promotion of circular economy, public authorities, real estate professionals and all the actors invested in the renovation of buildings find themselves in need of committing to the same purposes without delay.
- Sample of 944 renovation operations certified by Promotelec.
Managing Director of Promotelec Association