New environmental laws in France: What are the impacts?

Posted on 09 Dec 2020 in Market
New environmental laws in France: What are the impacts?

The government presented the new environmental regulations (RE2020), which will concern the construction of buildings from summer 2021. What is this all about and what are the consequences?

A new methodology

Buildings are responsible for nearly a quarter of national gas emissions. However, a building built according to current regulations still concentrates between 60% and 90% of its carbon footprint on its construction and demolition phases alone.

The calculation of the carbon impact will be on the ENTIRE life cycle of the building, and no longer only on the energy consumption linked to its use (home, offices, etc.). Materials that emit little during their manufacture and that store carbon during the lifetime of the building, such as wood, will therefore have an advantage over materials that emit more (It should not be a problem for Chalet buyers in the alps!).

Adapting buildings to heatwave & reduce their energy requirements

First, the maximum threshold of bioclimatic need will be lowered by 30% for all new personal houses, both individual and collective (a significant portion of single-family homes already meet these energy performance criteria).

In order to reduce the use of fossil fuels, and in particular that of natural gas, “the regulations will set a maximum threshold for greenhouse gas emissions for energy consumption…”. This will lead to a gradual exit from gas heating from summer 2021!

For collective housing, the transition will be more gradual because alternatives to gas – such as “urban heating networks, biomass boilers or collective heat pumps” – have yet to develop. You should be able to find a new build apartment heated with gas until 2024.

In order to avoid excessive use of air conditioners, which consume a lot of energy, French government encourages builders to make design efforts – on the orientation of buildings and windows for example.

Impacts on the buyer

As it stands, it would be difficult to make sustainable housing in addition to affordable housing. Builders are warning that “for a new house, the new environmental laws will lead to a price increase of 10 to 15%…”! 


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