Publication Of A New Decree Aimed At Improving Energy Performance In Existing Buildings Used For Tertiary Sector Activities


Since 2010, French law has required that actions be undertaken to improve the energy efficiency of buildings dedicated to tertiary sector activities in order to optimize their energy performance.

Following the publication of an initial decree in May 2017 (in application of the Law dated 13 December 2000 and the Law dated 17 August 2015) and subsequently annulled in June 2018 by the French High Court (Conseil d'Etat), the French government finally issued a new decree on 23 July 2019. This long-awaited decree (which was issued pursuant to Law dated 23 November 2018 known as the "ELAN Act") will come into force on 1st October 2019.

The purpose of this decree is to determine the conditions for the application of the law, which requires the implementation of actions to reduce the final energy consumption in buildings dedicated to use by the tertiary sector (bâtiments à usage tertiaire) constructed prior to 24 November 2018 by at least 40% by 2030, 50% by 2040 and 60% by 2050, compared with a reference energy consumption which cannot predate 2010 (whereas the May 2017 decree provided for a 25% reduction in consumption by 2020 and 40% by 2030).

The buildings concerned by this obligation are any existing buildings or parts of existing buildings where tertiary sector activities (i.e. health, education, services, retail activities, etc.) are undertaken on a floor area of 1,000 square meters (sqm) or more (instead of 2.000 sqm buildings in the May 2017 decree), with the exception of certain buildings set out in an exhaustive list in the decree (buildings used for religious, national defense, public safety or security purposes or those with a temporary building permit).

In order to comply with the obligation to take action to reduce final energy consumption in the above-mentioned buildings, the decree specifies in particular:

the conditions for determining the objectives for reducing final energy consumption; the type of actions that can be undertaken to achieve these objectives (installation of high-performance equipment in particular), and the possibility of modulating these objectives under certain conditions (in particular, in the event that the costs of the necessary actions are clearly disproportionate to the expected...

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