New units do not necessarily consume less energy

FRANCE – French homes consume nearly 30% of the total energy consumption in France, according to a study of CGDD (General Commission for Sustainable Development). With its goal of 500,000 renovations per year, the government wants to ensure the project’s success in terms of energy savings. In this regard, the General Commission on Sustainable Development is responsible to establish the general state of housing in France.

In France, only 14% of primary residences are listed as “performance” properties. They display a consumption of less than 151 kWhEP / m2 / year and certified energy label A, B or C. More than half the residences consume between 151 and 330 kWhEp / m2 / year and show an average energy label D or E. Beyond 330 kWhEP / m2 / year. Other residences show very high energy consumption, of which nearly a 1/3 have poor energy label F or G.

These figures result from the 2012 July report from the Department of Energy. They highlight that we are still far from the goal of the RT 2012 which is 50 kWhEP / m2 / year, but also that the structures built since 2000 and prior to 2013 did not show significant improvements in terms to reduce energy consumption in new housing.

Clearly, the new thermal regulations introduced since the 2000s have averted building F or G class residence to develop the interest of the class B to E. Thus, almost half of the homes built in 2001 were B or class C. But even if the trend is positive, the impact on an overall reduction of energy consumption in the construction of new housing remains a modest A.

There are several reasons for this: first class building construction that matches the ambitions of the RT 2012, remained anecdotal before the introduction of the RT 2012 (in 2013).

Then, since 2009, we see that the construction of new homes has experienced some decline due to the financial crisis. Finally, in the previous regulations RT 2012 there is no tax on the maximum consumption threshold.

Consequently, from 2006 to 2012 almost 2/3 of the homes built have an average energy label. At the same time many existing homes were renovated to improve energy performance. Thus if we observe overall energy consumption of residences, we also observe that there is no correlation between energy consumption and date of construction. With the RT 2012 and the establishment of a maximum threshold of energy consumption, this result should disappear in time.

All these results are also qualified according to the geographical location of a dwelling which also determines its energy needs. Logically, in the South of France, consumption is less important than in the east and the north, where consumption is becoming more consistent.