Passoires énergétiques, l’Europe est-elle à l’unisson ?

Energy renovation – is Europe united?

Are the laws on energy renovation aligned in Europe? Agence Etoile takes you on a quick tour of Europe’s energy policies.

Energy renovation – is Europe united? one law for each European country…

Each European country speaks a different language when it comes to energy performance: Climate and Resilience law in France, Green Deal plan in the United Kingdom, Superbonus 110% in Italy, etc.

Common characteristics are nevertheless shared for the DPEs: display of energy consumption, evaluation system, period of validity, recommendations.

With big differences though in:

  • The expression of the energy consumption
  • Minimum performance thresholds and labels
  • Calculation method (with software and/or on invoices)
  • Software used to carry out the diagnosis
  • Renovation strategy developed from the DPE.
    … and a beautiful cacophony

Consumption is expressed in kWh/m²/year in France. In England, it is a scale of 0 to 100. Class C of the French DPE is equivalent to class B in Wallonia, class E or F in Luxembourg. There are 7 classes (from A to G) in France, 10 in Luxembourg, 12 in the Netherlands. Criteria are added according to the States: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, non-renewable energy sources, fossil fuels, etc. In the Netherlands, sub-categories have been created (A++, A+++…).

In addition to the mode of presentation, the calculations are also disparate with two calculation methods to determine the energy performance:

  • The conventional consumption method (current 3CL method in France)
  • The method of actual consumption on invoices (abolished in France in July 2021).

Difficult to navigate and impossible to make comparisons between the different European countries.

France: The Green Dictatorship

France wants to be the European model in the fight against energy sieves: freezing of the rents of thermal sieves since August 24, 2022 and progressive ban on the rental of the most energy-intensive housing. Dwellings that are extremely energy-intensive are called “indecent”.

The French Government requires a considerable effort from the owners and offers inadequate support. The ECD, the great injustice.” declares Michel Platero, past-President Fnaim du Grand Paris.

Italy: towards renewable energy

The Italian legislator is much more flexible. It has provided that all homes built or renovated since January 1, 2018 must cover 50% of their consumption with renewable energies. It is necessary to calculate the energy value that each building requires for the production of hot water or heating. Once this value has been determined, a system supplied with renewable resources is installed. This must cover more than half of the energy needs of the building (wind, solar or geothermal energy).

Belgium: “hot rents”

The energy performance certificate (EPC) is to Wallonia what the DPE is to France. It classifies housing into categories and is mandatory for rental and sale. From the energy consumption mentioned in the CPE, an extrapolation of the energy costs is carried out.

A rent reference grid makes it possible to estimate the amount of rent considered correct depending on the property and its location. By adding the energy costs to the indicative rent, the value obtained is called the “hot rent”.

This encourages the owner of a property with low energy performance to carry out improvement work.

Germany: up to €75,000 grant

The German state pays up to €75,000 for the cost of renovation work, the use of an energy efficiency expert and site monitoring. It is just necessary to own a house in Germany and to reside there at least four months a year, to receive the aid. Taxally, the German taxpayer benefits from a reimbursement of 20% of his expenses (maximum €40,000) in the form of a tax credit.

Spain, only one mandatory diagnosis!

In Spain, there is no technical diagnostic file (DDT) as in France, nor any restriction on the right of ownership. there is only one diagnosis that has become mandatory since 2013, that of energy performance: Certificado de eficiencia energética

Great Britain, the Green Deal

The British government has implemented the “Green Deal”. A chain of stakeholders, prime contractors, companies, financing organizations, is labeled “Green Deal”. Funding for the work is provided by the stakeholders. There is no subsidy or tax benefit.

The Green Deal shows its limits. With interest rates above 8%, and without any other incentive, it is clear that our British neighbors have little enthusiasm for energy renovation.

Energy retrofit: is it effective in the long term?

It is from Great Britain that the doubt comes. A  study carried out by the University of Cambridge reveals in particular that insulating the walls generates an average energy saving of 7% from the first year. The latter decreases over time – falling to 2.7% on average in the second year. It becomes negligible from the fourth year. Attic insulation work would result in a 1.8% drop in consumption after one year, and insignificant from the second year.

The households studied showed a relaxation in their behavior with respect to energy. Some of those who pay attention to their heating consumption after work, open the windows in winter of their accommodation, now considered too hot.

Energy sieves, is Europe in unison? The answer is no. European renovation policies are far from homogeneous. The law is extremely strict in France, going so far as to prohibit raising rents or renting. Other European laws are much more flexible. The European Commission in 2023 intends to put some order in practices. The risk is to go towards many more constraints.

Energy renovation – is Europe united? Energy renovation policies need to be rethought. Let’s hope that the unions of European real estate professionals will be able to speak with a strong voice. Energy renovation cannot be decreed and must adapt to technical and economic realities.

André Perrissel

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