In 2007, the “Grenelle de l'environnement” round table brought together representatives of both national and regional governments and organisations with the objective of establishing an agreement on key issues surrounding the environment and sustainable development.  From this, ambitious targets were set for reducing France’s carbon emissions by 75% by 2050, compared to 1990.  The Grenelle de l'environnement also established specific building sector targets taking into account a reduction of energy consumption in the building sector by 2050 (of 38%) and a target number of buildings to be renovated per year as of 2013.  Alongside the Grenelle de l'environnement, a number of other policy measures exist that aim to reduce the consumption of energy of the existing building stock that include tax reductions, tax credits and zero interest loans. France introduced their version of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) called ‘Diagnostic de Performance Energétique’ (DPE) in 2006.

The Policy Tool for Renovation highlights five key areas where France’s Renovation Policy Package excels: overall country reduction targets, labelling schemes, incentive schemes (including tax rebates), and training and education campaigns.

All residential consumption indicators in France have been reducing steadily for the past few decades as well as the consumption per GDP, making it a prime candidate for the comparison study.  It is one of the largest countries in Europe and home to different climatic zones and is, therefore, largely representative of Europe.  Population is 65.3 million (Eurostat, 2012).

Regulatory Measures

Overall Targets

France has committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions by 75% by 2020 under the framework of its Environment Round Table (Grenelle de l'Environnement 2008).

Renovation Targets for Residential Buildings

The “Grenelle de l'Environment 2008” sets a target to decrease the energy consumption of the building stock in France by 38% in 2020. This means that the average primary energy consumption of buildings will be 150 kWhep/m2/year, compared with the current average of 240 kWhep/m2/year.

In order to meet this target, the “Grenelle de l'Environnement 2008” states that 400,000 residential buildings will be renovated per year up to 2020.

More info: Le Grenelle de l'environnement and Development Durable

Renovation Targets for Public Buildings

France’s POPE Law sets targets to reduce final energy intensity by 2% a year by 2015 and by 2.5% every year between 2015 and 2030. 

The "Grenelle de Public Energie" set a target of achieving a reduction of at least 40% in energy consumption and 50% in greenhousegas emissions of the state's building stock within eight years.

More info: Le Grenelle de l'environnement

Building Assessment

Building Code Requirements for Renovation

The building code also sets a minimum performance level for components replaced or installed this concerns, in particular, insulation, heating, hot-water production, cooling and ventilation equipment.


  • Roof – 0.2 W/(m2.K)
  • Wall – 0.36 W/(m2.K)
  • Window – 1.7 W/(m2.K)

Value for Airtightness - under 4Pa of building envelope is limited to 0.8 m3/hm2for SFH, 1.2 m3/hm2for other residential buildings, o ces, hotels educational and health care buildings and 2.5 m3/hm2 for other buildings.

Labelling Schemes

Within the framework of the Directive on the energy performance of buildings, France introduced a mandatory labelling scheme for all buildings called “Energy Performance Diagnosis” (Diagnostic de Performance Energétique ,DPE).  The label is required whenever the building is rented or sold, this has been the case since 2006 and from 2008 for existing buildings.

France has also introduced a voluntary high energy performance renovation label (BBC Effinergie + label is at RT2012 -20%) that includes two levels for residential buildings: a ‘high energy performance – renovation HPE 2009’ label for buildings achieving primary energy consumption below 150 kWhep/m2/year and a ‘low energy consumption building - renovation, BBC 2009’ label for buildings achieving primary energy consumption below 80 kWhep/m2/year.’

More info: Effinergie

Financial Instruments

Incentive Schemes

Since April 2009, France has provided home occupiers or landlords with a zero-rated eco-loan (eco-PTZ) that will finance major energy renovation work. It includes three options:

  • Implementation of a 'mix of works'
  • Achievement of a minimum ‘overall energy performance’ level for the dwelling
  • Renewal of a ‘non-public sanitation’ system using a non-energy-consuming mechanism.

Up to €30 000 of the dwelling’s energy efficiency improvement can be financed over a period of 10 years (can be extended to 15 years by the bank).

More info: GrDF

Taxation Mechanisms

The Amending Finance Law (2006) allows for local authorities to grant an exemption from property tax on existing buildings for five years. This can be an exemption rate of up to 50% - 100%, for all structures completed before the December 2008.  France also has a Sustainable Development Tax Credit that entitles an owner to a payment by the tax authority.

More info: Developpement Durable and French Property Guide

Economic Instruments

Utility-Funded Energy Efficiency Programmes

A dynamic market for energy service companies is not yet fully developed in France.

Market Development for Energy Efficient Renovations

The ESCO market is perceived to have grown in 2008 in comparison to the period 2005- 2007, this is due to a policy framework (including incentives) and to demonstration projects. France’s National Energy Agency (ADEME) with the Grenelle programme, has been able to create a market for energy renovations in the public sector with PPPs and private investments. There are other programmes available that aim to increase energy efficiency such as the white certificates. 

The ESCOs market is under further development through a new programme called “Marché Public” that offers smaller amounts (< €5 million) for project financing.

More info: Batiment Energie

General Information & Capacity Building

Training and Education Campaigns

France’s Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) are raising awareness of energy saving methods through public campaigns such as ‘réduisons vite nos déchets, ça déborde’ (‘let’s reduce waste now, it’s overflowing’) and ‘économies d’énergie faisons vite, ça chauffe’ (‘energy savings: let’s act now, the heat is on!’).

Significant efforts have been put in place to train building professionals (designations, qualifications or certification) to develop their competences in energy savings and energy renovation activities. 

One Stop Solution Centre

The Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME) is seen as the “go to” place for advice and information on energy renovations in France.  They offer training for energy efficiency in buildings, advice on financial mechanisms, support demonstration projects and are in collaboration with the FFB (French Building Federation.

More info: Batiment Energie

Overall Performance

Please see Create Graphs tab above.