At the recent French monitoring committee for the project Transition Zero, the social housing provider Vilogia in Northern France has announced that, with the support of Greenflex (coordinating the activities of the EU project Transition Zero in France) a call for tender to receive proposals from construction/renovation companies in order to get the first French projects under Transition Zero running was launched at the beginning of October, 2016.
The contract will be about the renovation of 10 social housing units. The renovation should be done in 3 weeks and the level of energy performance achieved should be net zero, combining energy efficiency and renewable energy, with a 25 year guarantee of performance.
In comparison with the original Energiesprong model, there won’t be an energy plan (i.e. tenants paying a fee equivalent to their average energy consumption over the last 3 years). Indeed, the legislation in France so far does not allow to use more than 50% of the energy savings for the reimbursement of the investment. The Investment will be done by the social housing provider with the usual source of funding (a mix between own resources – including a potential increase of rent – and subsidized loans).
In the long term, the model is that construction/renovation companies pay for the investment and are reimbursed via an energy fee paid by tenants to the social housing provider.
Of particular relevance to the use of renewable energy, which is a central piece in the Energiesprong model as it helps achieve the net zero on the meter, the French legislation was changed last August in order to allow for more self consumption/self generation of renewable electricity. This could help the Energiesprong model in France, too, which will eventually be an important point.
Eventually the monitoring committee has highlighted the importance of creating and maintaining a fruitful relationship with tenants at all stages of the renovation project. This focus is not only because the social acceptance of any project is key or because behaviour after the renovation will impact the energy consumption, but because the primary objective of such renovation is to improve the comfort and satisfaction of tenants.