The Regional Public Service for Energy Efficiency of Hauts-de-France («Régie du SPEE») offers a complete service to massively increase energy renovation in private housing. A small revolution in the world of renovation since the offer is based on third-party financing. Thanks to the combination of technical support and financing, it guarantees that everyone, regardless of resources and age, can save energy and reduce energy expenses.
Energy renovations help to alleviate energy poverty in the Hauts-de-France region
Energy poverty is a major problem in the Hauts-de-France Region (6 million inhabitants), where almost every fifth household is affected by fuel poverty. This proportion is significantly higher among owners, due to a particularly old and degraded housing stock and the fragile financial situation of the households that occupy them.
There are more than 2.5 million housing units in the Hauts-de-France Region. It is estimated that more than 60% of these were built before the first thermal regulation was implemented in 1975. These buildings and dwellings usually have a very high energy consumption. Overall, the share of housing units built before 1975 is only 46% in France. In addition, the housing stock in Hauts-de-France Region is characterised as follows:
- The share of single-family homes (71%) is substantially higher in Hauts-de-France than nationally (56%).
- More than 2 out of 5 homes sold or rented have one of the three lowest house energy classes (E, F, G), and 16% of existing homes sold or rented are wasting a lot of energy (energy classes F and G).
Therefore, there is a particular need in the Hauts-de-France region to renovate the building stock. For this reason, the “Régie du SPEE” was founded in 2013 by the former Picardy Region. This service provider supports owners, homeowners’ associations, landlords and tenants in energy renovation and energy saving measures – regardless of age, financial means or type of building. The “Régie du SPEE” offers two programmes: The Pass Rénovation for owners and the Pass Copropriété for owners’ associations.
The Pass Rénovation
For detached and semi-detached houses, there is the “Hauts-de-France Pass Rénovation” offer. The aim is to reduce energy consumption by 35 to 75%. The service encompasses several phases:
- An initial phase of information and support for decision-making through technical analysis and financial planning: The study proposes a technically optimal project, which includes a financial plan adapted to the household’s financial resources and available financing offers. This plan development is free of charge for all households. In most cases, clients are made aware of the One-Stop-Shop service through local authorities that cooperate with “Régie du SPEE”.
- The second phase of support covers the implementation of the renovation, which allows for better control of time, costs and quality: In this phase, a contract is concluded with the households. The prerequisite for this is that the energy savings achieved through the renovation project will be at least 35%. During the second phase, owners can, if they wish, receive zero-interest loans or long-term loans directly from the “Régie du SPEE”. The “Régie du SPEE” applies for subsidies and presents the total costs of the project. This financial control of the project by the One-Stop-Shop means a significant relief for the households and at the same time ensures that sufficient funds are available for the entire renovation and that it can be completed.
The idea here is that the monthly energy cost savings can be partially used to repay the loan. Furthermore, the One-Stop-Shop’s vast experience and know-how, as well as comprehensive quality assurance, enables an accurate estimate of the potential savings that can be taken into account when granting the loan. In this way, even households that would not receive a loan from a commercial bank can carry out ambitious renovation projects to reduce their energy consumption and thus their monthly expenditure on energy. The “Régie du SPEE” is the first public company that has relied on this type of third-party debt financing.
The Pass Copropriété
The offer of the “Hauts-de-France Pass Copropriété” works according to the same principle: technical support in the choice of measures is supplemented by financial offers to enable all interested parties to carry out an energy efficiency refurbishment. Projects are developed step by step so that the necessary votings can take place in the owners’ associations.
In an initial vote, the homeowners’ association decides whether to take up the project. After a planning phase of about six months, they decide on the renovation measures to be implemented. They can base their decision on cost estimates, savings estimates, other benefits and a detailed financing plan. Finally, the homeowners vote on whether to start the construction work. For this type of project, it is necessary to be able to provide comprehensive and correct information. Only then can a high proportion of planned projects be implemented. At the same time, financial instruments are required to simplify financing and reduce the risk for owners and property managers.
The two schemes contribute to an improvement of the residential building stock. Energy-inefficient buildings lead to high energy bills for households and cause high greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, energy-efficient renovations help to reduce energy poverty and revitalise the local construction industry and local crafts.
Cooperating with a large number of stakeholders
Of course, the “Régie du SPEE” does not claim to solve every problem. However, it aims to demonstrate that it is possible to successfully take on the challenge of energy-efficient renovation of the building stock with suitable instruments. In the process, private companies are also being motivated to build on these approaches. For this reason, the «Régie du SPEE» is also cooperating with the Region, the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME), the National Agency for housing improvement (ANAH), building federations and local authorities.
The goal is to alleviate the uncertainties of households regarding energy refurbishments and the risks associated with ambitious renovation projects: Which installation companies should be chosen? How certain can the estimated energy savings be achieved? How can it be ensured that a high quality of implementation is achieved? What procedure should be followed to obtain subsidies? As a public company, the “Régie du SPEE” positions itself as a trustworthy third party. It cooperates with the local authorities to become better known and at the same time helps to ensure that the local support and funding offers are used.
The Régie du SPEE’s success
Since 2013, 6,500 households have contacted the «Régie du SPEE» to receive information and more than 3,000 energy audits have been carried out. Almost 880 houses were renovated with an overall investment of around 40 million euros (on average 45,000 euros per project). On average, the energy savings amount to 52%. The energy cost savings correspond to approximately 60% of the monthly reimbursement of the loans (the average loans is around 30,000 euros).
In the same period, 31 condominium owners’ associations representing more than 2,700 households requested the support of the «Régie du SPEE» to implement their energy renovation projects. 14 of these owners’ associations – with a total of 1,073 apartments – decided to implement the renovation projects. The construction works are either in progress or have already been completed. By implementing all these renovation projects, around 6,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions are saved each year.
You can learn more about the Régie du SPEE and its services on its website.