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Policies and programmes for decarbonising blocks of flats: France

This is a quick review of French retrofit support policies for flats undertaken by Future Climate, we welcome any corrections or update, and this information should not be relied on for decision making.

Twenty percent of English homes are blocks of flats, but policies and programmes for retrofit rarely consider the distinct needs of these buildings. In particular, action at whole block level – in line with whole building principles of retrofit – is vital.

Twenty-five percent of homes in France are flats. In contrast to England, there is an extensive policy focus on how programmes for retrofit can improve these buildings, as whole buildings.

See also: A leasehold reform bill for retrofit ; Why leasehold law needs reform

The policies:

  1. Provide funding support specifically for whole-building improvements to blocks of flats in retrofit. Provide additional funding to low income flat owners to enable them to pay “their share.”
  2. Where necessary, adjust property law – the way blocks of flats are collectively owned and managed – to enable and encourage retrofit
  3. Enable different types of whole building audits, which link retrofit to necessary maintenance and upkeep of blocks
  4. Provide funding not just for measures but for retrofit planning and management, essential to help co-owners of blocks deal with the technical complexities.
  5. Make specific provisions to enable co-owners to take out private finance for improvements to their blocks of flats at a whole building scale
  6. Build and engage the specialist supply chain for block of flat retrofit


Just over 25% of French homes are flats. 97% of Paris homes are flats. Flats are principally owned through a condominium, copropriété, model. The closest English equivalent is share of freehold, but copropriété is much more closely regulated than share of freehold.

Paris one-stop shop programme: CoachCoPro

CoachCopro is a one-stop shop programme focused on apartment buildings, working both with individual apartment owners and with the group of co-owners as overall owners of the apartment building. CoachCoPro works to build demand from flat owners/residents and to strengthen the supply chain and then to bring the two sides together.

Consumer Support
A dedicated advisor who works with each apartment building involved in the programme is appointed.

An online platform is offered to provide:

  1. Information: news, experiences of other owners,
  2. Documents and online tools for the audit of the building, and to support the preparation of a plan of works and the implementation of works.

Working with the retrofit supply chain

Quality Standards: Companies are asked to sign up to a charter and commit to comply with training requirements and use of certified products.
Training is provided on how to work with apartment buildings.

Bringing together the supply and demand side

  • An Online professional directory has been developed, bringing together all relevant trades for energy retrofitting. There are 280 affiliated companies, who signed the CoachCopro charter in order to be listed on the online directory.
  • An interactive online map of retrofitted condominiums, listing the impact on the energy performance of the building, the works conducted, the detailed costs, the timeline of the renovation and the stakeholders involved.
  • Large scale matchmaking event where owners and professionals are invited. On the 16th of April 2019, PCA hosted 650 participants at one of these events.
  • “Pros answers” service – which allows professionals to present to owners technical solutions on retrofitting elements identified by PCA such as windows, ventilation, exterior insulation, collective heating system…

Energy Audits of apartment buildings

In France there are four different types of audit relevant to apartment buildings.

The energy performance diagnosis (DPE) – EPC equivalent, but with a building-level version
Like the UK EPC, except with a collective version/dimension, this estimates energy efficiency of a dwelling on a scale from A to G and is mandatory when listings or renting a property. In co-ownership, this DPE can be collective: it is then carried out on a building scale. The collective DPE isvalid for each of the dwellings of this building. Its realization is mandatory (ie not just at point of sale) in condominiums of less than 50 flats with collective heating.

The regulated energy audit – required for large blocks
This is an analysis of the energy situation of the condominium. It makes recommendations for work aimed at improving the energy efficiency of the building. Completion of an energy audit is
mandatory in condominiums of more than 50 lots with collective heating.

The overall technical diagnosis – focus on the wider situation of the block, repairs, management etc.This includes a DPE or a regulated energy audit, and also analysis of the architectural situation and the need for works on the buildings, as well as the legal and regulatory situation of the co-ownership. It includes a list of jobs to be achieve to keep the building in good condition within 10 years. It is mandatory to propose the works to the flat owners at their annual meeting… but not to carry out the works.

The Global audit – the most detailed retrofit planning audit
This offers, in addition to the energy expertise provided for in the energy audit, an architectural and financial analysis. This allows for better advice to the condominiums on the work to be carried out, the means of embarking on energy efficiency in maintenance work while indicating the costs, subsidies and associated financial solutions.

Formalised project management assistance

Retrofit co-ordination – is promoted through the MaPrimeRenov funding programme (see below). It is a mandatory requirement to work with a co-ordinator to access the funding and the cost of this is subsidised to 30%. “Project management assistance (AMO) allows co-owners to be guided and advised as part of their renovation project.”


Financial support related to the CEE Programme (ECO equivalent – energy supplier obligation)
A “boost” to the CEE which pays for individual measures where whole building renovation of the condominium is achieved. Presumably the boost means that the supplier is able to claim a credit for additional savings and therefore pay for a higher proportion of the works. A 35% improvement in dwellings’ energy performance must be achieved. CEE funding can work alongside the MaPrimeRenov government grant funding.

Government grant for renovation: MaPrimeRénov’ Copropriété (condominium)
This funding finances whole building renovation work (heating, ventilation and/or insulation) and ancillary work in condominiums whose buildings are more than 15 years old and include at least 75% main residences. The energy gain at the end of the work must be at least 35%. Payment is to the Syndic, the co-owner company. Project Management Assistance (AMO) is partially financed and is a condition of the grant. Amount of aid: 25% of the amount of the work, capped at €15,000 per dwelling + 30% of the amount of the mandatory AMO. The work must be carried out by a qualified retrofit professional under the Recognized Guarantor of the Environment (RGE) scheme. There are additional bonusespaid where the improvement brings the homes out of the category of very energy inefficient or into a high performing category.

MaPrimeRénov’ Copropriétaire (co-owner) additional building-level grant for low income owner-occupiers
MaPrimeRénov’ Copropriété is an additional grant calculated on the basis of household income. The additional grant is calculated individually but is paid to the syndicate of co-owners and not by the co-owners themselves. An additional grant of €750 is given for each low-income household, and €1500 for very low income households.

ECO-PTZ (Zero Rate loan)
The zero-interest collective eco-loan is an interest-free loan, which can be granted to co-owners lessors or occupants of a building of more than two years to finance thermal renovation work, certain additional work and project management, project management and thermal study services. Work must be carried out by a recognised retrofit professional. It is not clear exactly how liability is allocated but French law allows bank loans to be made to the Syndic (the company of co-owners of a building) without shared liability – ie if one flat owner defaults the remainder are not liable.