In the running for the Green Solution Awards

28 May 2023

Exciting news to share… two of our French Energiesprong projects are participating in the Green Solution Awards:

1. Georges Rascol Elementary School

During the unveiling, Sébastien Delpont, from Energiesprong France, said: “”Today we went back to school and we returned home with a zero grade, but one that we can be proud of because it was a Zero Energy result!” The Georges Rascol Elementary School was the first educational building retrofitted following the Energiesprong approach in France.

Georges Rascol Primary School

France has ambitious targets to retrofit buildings to make them energy efficient, but the energy retrofit market is struggling to scale up. Having faced the same situation, since 2012 the Netherlands has implemented a comprehensive and innovative approach called Energiesprong (meaning “energy leap” in Dutch), which has a proven track record and has given the issue new momentum.

In fact, this approach is a European movement whose objective is to make a real change to the scale and ambition of energy retrofitting of schools and housing, by aligning the interests of all stakeholders in the ecosystem (public authorities, financiers, project owners and companies).

In France, this has been coordinated by GreenFlex since 2018, specifically under the EEC “Energiesprong France” project.

Innovative solutions that help the sector to industrialise (for example, off-site prefabricated façades) are preferred as they will help to make energy retrofits at scale possible and will gradually reduce construction costs.

With a surface area of over 1,000 m², the Georges Rascol School (formerly Ecole des Escholiers) in Saint-Jean-de-Védas, is subject to the provisions of the French Tertiary Decree which aims to reduce energy consumption by 60% by 2050. This ambition echoes the Occitanie region’s goal to become the first energy positive region by 2050.

In order to meet this significant challenge and take the initiative in the region, the town of Saint-Jean-de-Védas wanted to pilot the implementation of this ambitious approach by having the first educational building retrofitted by Energiesprong in France.

The retrofit of the school complex has achieved many successes:

These elements all point to a successful retrofit, one that has restored the school’s attractiveness, user comfort and the aesthetic quality of the existing building, all while controlling the overall cost.

All of this has been accomplished through the work of SOGEAwhich has resulted in a high-quality outcome where all the stakeholders are completely satisfied.

Speech by Sébastien Delpont, Director of Energiesprong France, at the unveiling in November 2022:

“Today we went back to school, and we returned home with a zero grade, but one that we can be proud of it because it was a Zero Energy result!

This project was a double first: 1st Energiesprong school project in France and 1st Energiesprong FR project in the Mediterranean climate. A 60% reduction in consumption backed by a CPE over 20 years & coupled with solar PV on the roof. A building which meets the 2050 requirements of the Tertiary Decree. Implemented without moving students or teachers: in holiday time. With a major gain in comfort between May/June 2022 and September/October 2022, the hottest in history (after the insulated façades were installed): we learn better in temperatures under 35°C!

Let’s be proud of this Zero, it is time to reset the cursor of our ambitions to Zero: to move towards zero energy, zero carbon, zero net artificialisation… our young people are outraged by our slowness to decarbonise, communities are struggling to pay their energy bills, our senior citizens are suffering from heat waves. It is key that we move from outrage to action and dare to do better and to do different. This is what the European Open Source Energiesprong cooperation movement, led by GreenFlex in France, is advocating for: deploying new retrofit standards to democratise access to high-performance retrofits.

After dozens of schools had been retrofitted in the Netherlands, we were looking for pioneers in France and we found them in the town city of Saint-Jean-de-Védas.

Decarbonisation is a team sport, and this success is due to a remarkable team: the project management, technical teams and elected officials, assistant to the project owner, architects, design office, construction companies, prefabrication industrialists, with valuable support from the State #francerelance Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole CNAF Hérault DEPARTEMENT DE L HERAULT ADEME and subsidised (and intracting) loans from the Banque des Territoires.

To mark the new school cycle, the Ecole des Escholiers was renamed after its former Headmaster, “Georges Rascol”, a former elected official who was passionate about nature.

This is a story of change and environmental education. It was 5°C this morning and in the presence of those involved in the project, parents, students, elected officials and the municipal council of children, we unveiled the new school, and it was a great result! This represents one more small building block towards meeting the objective to make the Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region a positive energy region. We are now looking forward to the next projects in Lille, Raismes, University Paris 8 and Palaiseau. The more we reproduce, the more we industrialise, the more we will lower costs. This is a good example of a project carried out partly off-site that can inspire the school retrofitting plan mentioned by the President of the Republic during the first 24 hours of the building.

This Zero deserves a 20/20 and the work carried out by these professionals should be copied again and again by their colleagues (looking over their shoulders, they would agree). Our children will thank us.”

Occupants’ opinions:

Feedback on the retrofit of the Georges Rascol School is currently being collected, so far it has been very positive from both the school users and the neighbouring residents.

This retrofit guarantees users’ comfort and health to ensure the best learning and working conditions.

The work carried out, such as improving the insulation and waterproofing the building, makes it possible for thermal comfort to be guaranteed in both the winter and the summer, by limiting the use of heating in winter and optimising temperatures in summer, meaning that the occupants can forget the old thermal sieve that the school was.

The acoustic, visual and air quality are also much better post-retrofit.

In addition, the retrofit was carried out in a short time, using the summer closure period, and was completed in such a way that limited the inconvenience to users, guaranteeing the continued service of the school building during term time.

From the neighbouring residents, the town council has received positive feedback, with regard to both the approach taken and the aesthetics of the building.

The inhabitants’ comfort, as well as that of the users, was taken into account throughout the project.

For example, an assessment of the residual noise level was conducted at several points on the site, which made it possible for the initial status of the school’s noise environment to be determined in order to ensure that the project would not generate noise pollution for its direct vicinity and local residents.

The inhabitants also praised the architecture which gives the area a certain cachet and sense of renewal.

Lessons learnt:

As presented in the project description, this project forms part of a replicable retrofit approach.

This retrofit was a pilot project for the Energiesprong approach. The conclusions and feedback from the project implementation will be used to deploy the approach further in the education domain which is still “too” unaccustomed to retrofitting in a short timescale.

The Town and the Region also intend to continue further with this type of retrofit and other municipalities are also interested.

Several projects are underway such as in Raismes, Lille, Kernanec, Palaiseau and Saint-Denis.

2. Retrofit of residential area of 160 houses in Wattrelos using the Energiesprong approach

In 2018, Vilogia was a pioneer when it implemented a pilot project to retrofit 10 houses in Hem. Now Vilogia is confirming its commitment to the Energiesprong approach by leading the retrofit of an entire residential area in Wattrelos, comprising 160 houses, following the Energiesprong process. This is the first project carried out at such a scale in France and even in Europe outside of the Netherlands. This work will completely transform a whole section of the city of Wattrelos and project it into the year 2050, whereas previous Energiesprong projects focused on one building only.

The project to retrofit 160 housing units in the Beaulieu district of Wattrelos, therefore, makes a scaled industrial approach possible (900 façade panels, 7300 PV panels) with the aim of reaching the net zero (E = 0) energy level over 25 years, meaning that the energy consumed each year is equal to the energy produced each year (6,000 kWh per house).

Wattrelos after retrofit

Good luck to both projects, we’ll all have our fingers crossed for you!

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