In France, major delays in energy renovation work on buildings

The figures are always dizzy, when we talk about the need to renovate all buildings by 2050 to make them as energy efficient as possible. Because, who says building means the entire building, that is to say, housing, but also schools, town halls, hospitals, factories, swimming pools, offices … That is to say millions and millions of meters squares on which to intervene, by insulating walls and roofs, changing boilers, replacing windows, all with the objective of fighting against global warming. As a reminder, the buildings sector in France is the second to emit the most greenhouse gases (28%). He is also the one who is still far behind in terms of the roadmap set.

The movement is however underway, and the recovery plan, with 7 billion euros earmarked for energy renovation, has given a good boost. But most of the reservations expressed in the reports, in particular that of the High Council for the Climate of November 2020, or that of Olivier Sichel, Deputy Managing Director of the Caisse des Dépôts, in March 2021, remain: the funding is there, but it would be necessary to multiply them, to perpetuate them and to ensure their proper use.

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However, in the vast majority of cases, the subsidies paid are not conditional on a level of performance to be achieved. And no control is carried out once the work is completed. This makes Maxime Ledez, researcher at the Institute of the Economy for the Climate, say that“Between the government’s very ambitious target for 2050 and current practices there is not yet any alignment”. Or, to Andreas Rüdinger, researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, that“There is a lot of money spent, but we must think about focusing aid on more efficient renovations”.

Renovations in spurts to the detriment of the overall renovation

The MaPrimeRénov ‘scheme, for individuals, is a good example. Its large-scale deployment, since spring 2020, has been a success, it is even the Court of Auditors who says it. The device “Responds well to the objectives of massification of energy renovation”, underlined the magistrates. The latter, however, deplore the lack of visibility after 2023. And noted, like others, that intermittent renovations are preferred, to the detriment of the overall renovation, admittedly more demanding, but considered more effective.

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