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France ranks highly in real estate sustainability

As the International Climate Summit ends in Paris, chair country France’s efforts to green its property sector in order to fight climate change pay off. The country scores highly in a new ranking on real estate sustainability.

France recently chaired the latest edition of the United Nations Climate Conference. With sustainability now a main requirement in most sectors, including property and construction, how is France faring at increasing its real estate’s eco-friendliness?

It’s no secret that the building sector is a very energy-intensive business. In France, it represents 43% of total energy consumption and produces 23% of the country’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. This is not only of environmental concern: nowadays each household’s heating bills come to 900 euros per year on average.

In 2009, the Grenelle Environment Round Table — Le Grenelle de l’environnement — set the goal of “reducing the energy consumption of existing buildings by at least 38% by 2020.” To this end, an ambitious thermal and energy renovation program was undertaken which aimed to renovate 400,000 housing units per year from 2013 onwards.

Accordingly, the last few years have seen France introduce several incentives to encourage greener construction. A previous Paris Property Group article details the regulations and incentives developed by the French government to limit its property sector’s footprint, while another lists a number of recent eco-projects.

France’s efforts to clean up its construction seem to have paid off. The country recently ranked highly in an environmentally-focused study. Last Wednesday, the Observatory for sustainable real estate (OID) revealed a sustainability barometer of countries in Europe. With a high score of 55 out of a 100 — against 52 for Europe as a whole — France is in the “Green Star” category, which comprises the most advanced actors in terms of sustainable real estate.

According to the report, France stands out in this ranking thanks to a number of “best practices,” namely the quantity of environmental certifications it offers and the eco-friendly nature of many of its construction projects.

The study reveals that France achieved such a high score thanks to the widespread practice of French companies of focusing on rational analyses of energy costs and environmental impacts, and of integrating energy policies into all new construction and renovation. The country also conducts technical and energy audits as well as implements measures to replace old energy producing mechanisms with more efficient equipment in private and publicly owned buildings.

France scoring high in European rankings and the quantity of certificates in place to encourage homeowners to green their property does not mean there isn’t room for improvement. Rather, additional eco-friendly measures will almost certainly be implemented following the Climate Summit. Nevertheless, it seems that in terms of sustainable real estate, France is off to a good start.

Photo credit: Pixabay / Afrndz

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