The Net Zero Energy challenges in France

01 February 2017

Sébastien Delpont is manager of the Energiesprong France programme and Déborah Knight is in charge of communications and tenant engagement. We spoke with them about the challenges they are facing.

“In France, we are working on five main issues with the stakeholders” Sébastien Delpont explains. “The business model and analysis of housing stocks, the energy plan, the contracting scheme, improvement of technical solutions and last but not least tenant engagement.”

Business model and stock analysis: Working on creating a dynamic

“Last year we worked on the French finance model for Energiesprong and created a simulation tool based on total cost of ownership. This tool is designed to help housing associations identify and select demonstrator sites. This year we will focus on identifying eligible property stock among social housing stakeholders and the conditions under which they would engage in extensive Energiesprong refurbishments. This will lead to a collective charter of commitment that will highlight the potential for Energiesprong refurbishments and identify the barriers that will need to be overcome in order to realise them.”

Energy plan: Tenant payments to be protected by an ‘energy shield’

“We are figuring out the energy plan. Who is going to pay for what and to whom? Our goal is to set an ‘energy shield’ so that tenants do not pay more than before the refurbishment. There is still no legal framework to make it easy and feasible for housing associations to ask for the fee that tenants need to pay to them instead of the energy provider after the refurbishment. The demonstrator projects will allow us to experiment with some schemes, and to see if we actually need to change the law or not.” 

Contracting: The energy performance warranty is new in France

“Another challenge lies in the contracting” Sébastien Delpont continues. “Our main objective is to find a way to integrate the long term energy performance warranty into a procurement contract compliant with public purchasing rules ”

Technical solutions: Identifying best practices and sharing knowledge

“We are really eager to learn and share knowledge. Good solutions should be spread. In dedicated workshops, we share the problems we are facing and work on technical roadmaps. We do this in collaboration with a wide range of professionals, including learning from the experience of our Dutch peersin regular visits to the Netherlands.”

Tenant engagement

This is where Déborah Knight comes in. “My task is to help housing associations engage their tenants in the project. Relationships with tenants are key at every stage of an Energiesprong retrofit. We work together on helping them understand the project and its benefits… but above all, we involve them so they feel engaged and take an active role in the process. But it doesn´t stop here,” Déborah Knight continues. “We will also identify the issues requiring careduring renovations so that they run smoothly for tenants, and work on how to help them feel at ease in their renovated home and master their energy consumption patterns….” To share this knowledge, she organises workshops with housing associations in France and holds meetings with her Dutch colleagues.

> Read the interview with Agnieszka Bogucka, project manager Vilogia (the first housing association that will realize 10 demonstrator houses in France.)


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