France Implements The Obligation To Undertake Actions To Reduce Energy Consumption In Commercial Use Buildings

Author:Mr Pierre-Nicolas Sanzey
Profession:Stephenson Harwood AARPI

Summary of the main aspects of Decree of 23 July 2019

The obligation to undertake actions for reducing energy consumption in commercial use buildings has been defined initially by the Law of 23 November 2018, known as the "ELAN" Law. This obligation is inserted in Article L.111-10-3 of the French Construction and Housing Code. A Decree dated 23 July 2019 (published on 25 July 2019) specifies conditions for implementing this obligation.

The obligation to reduce buildings energy consumption as defined in the ELAN Law applies to owners (or tenants, if the lease expressly imposes such an obligation on the tenant) of buildings, parts of buildings or buildings complexes intended for commercial use. The obligation is:

to reduce energy consumption by 40% in 2030, 50% in 2040 and 60% in 2050, in comparison to the "reference energy consumption" of the relevant building as recorded in 2010; to comply with an energy consumption level fixed in absolute terms in relation to newly erected buildings (depending on their respective category). However, these objectives may be adjusted in three cases:

where the building is subject to technical, architectural or cultural heritage constraints; where there is a change in the activity carried out in the building or in the volume of such activity; or when costs relating to implementation of these objectives are manifestly disproportionate to the expected benefits in terms of final energy consumption. The Decree of 23 July 2019 specifies the process for implementing this obligation. The main provisions of the Decree can be summarised as follows:

  1. Scope of the obligation: the obligation to reduce energy consumption applies to any building, part of a building or buildings complex for commercial use with a surface area greater than or equal to 1,000 sqm. The obligation does not apply to seasonal constructions, religious buildings and those dedicated to a defense, civil security or territorial internal security activity.

  2. Determination of the objectives of energy consumption reduction: the Decree refers to further Ministerial orders which shall set-out (i) methods and elements of calculation of energy consumption reduction targets compared to an energy consumption reference, and (ii) the level of energy consumption fixed in absolute terms (for new buildings) for each deadline of 2030, 2040 and 2050. Actions to achieve the objectives shall relate to:

    energy performance of buildings; installation of...

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