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Can historic places go green? Paris real estate DPE energy consumption limits revised

Energy efficiency document now required for all Paris apartment purchases.

With new rules taking effect April 1st of this year, fixing Paris apartment energy ratings is a hot topic on the minds of owners, buyers, and renters. From improving residential insulation to new ventilation and heating systems, it’s the latest step in making Paris a greener city, fit for the future, and meeting guidelines set up by the EU. The most recent changes have been to the energy efficiency requirements in apartments for sale as well as those being used for long-term rentals. 

What does energy efficiency mean in general for properties in France?

An Energy Performance Certificate, or Diagnostic de Performance Énergétique’ (DPE) is issued for every property, whether for sale or for long-term rental in France. This certificate is part of the EU’s energy policy and has been part of the French law since 2006.  The purpose of the DPE is to provide information to potential buyers or long-term renters about the energy consumption and efficiency of the building, as well as recommendations for improvements.

The DPE must be presented at the signing of the Promesse or Compromis de Vente (the document which confirms that an offer has been made for purchase and accepted by the seller), or signing of a long-term lease, if renting. Having a DPE is a mandatory requirement for all homes and apartments and is ranked between A (Green) and G (Red), with G being the least energy efficient.

There have been continuous updates in regard to rules and regulations as to the energy efficiency of properties in France since it’s beginning in 2006, the most recent of which took effect April 1, 2023, requiring apartments with F and G ratings to undertake an energy audit, performed at the seller’s expense and detailing what needs to be done to the apartment to better its energy efficiency rating and the costs involved to undertake those improvements.   The goal in the energy audit is to show how the apartment can be moved up to a B rating.  The suggested improvements are not required to be implemented by the buyer immediately, but these costs can be a part of the negotiating process between the seller and any interested buyers.

Here is some of the timeline for implementation of DPE improvements:

  • From July 2021 The DPE includes more than just basic information on the energy consumption of the dwelling; it is now based on property characteristics such as the insulation and type of heating the property uses, thus providing a more accurate depiction of the energy efficiency.
  • From September 2022 it became mandatory to carry out a regular energy audit (audit énergétique réglementaire) at the seller’s or landlord’s expense on all properties that are classified F or G.
  • From January 2023 it is no longer possible to rent a home in France for a long-term lease with an energy consumption of over 450 kw per square meter (a G rating).
  • From January 2025 properties with the worst rating – G, will not be allowed on the rental market.
  • From January 2028 properties with an F-rating will no longer be allowed to be rented long term.


What about historic buildings or co-owned apartment buildings located in cities?

Older buildings with facades and roofs that can not be changed due to historical preservation laws, and apartments in cities with shared ownership and visual elements that must conform aesthetically, do not have to comply with the strictest requirements.  It isn’t practical to change collective boilers that heat all the apartments in a building, for example, or to replace doors that must match throughout a building.  Interior insulation can’t really be added without affecting plaster moldings and other period features.

Appliances are already generally very highly efficient in Europe, but there are a few remaining things that can make a big difference.  Changing to efficient, double-pane French doors, and high efficiency water heaters, are the main improvements that can be made in Paris, and those will meet the requirements that allow owners to rent their property long term.  It should be noted that properties not rented long term (for periods of over a year) do not need to comply.  Improvements undertaken to meet the requirements are generally tax deductible, so be sure to confer with your tax advisor.

The new ratings are impacting property prices, even in large historic cities like Paris, as buyers prefer to have an energy efficient property over one that is drafty and cold, or hot and stuffy, depending on the season.  There is also debate that these rules unfairly impact small landlords who count on rental income and can not afford to upgrade, even with the tax incentives offered. So stay tuned for potential changes and modification to the rules.


How are DPE ratings calculated

The DPE is based on two main indicators: energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. These are measured using standardized methods and are expressed in terms of primary energy consumption per square meter per year (kWh/m².year) and CO2 emissions per square meter per year (kgCO2/m².year). The DPE also takes into account the building’s insulation, heating and ventilation systems, and other energy-related features.

The DPE is carried out by a certified professional, who visits the building and conducts a thorough inspection of its energy-related features. The professional then produces a report that includes the two main indicators, as well as a rating on a scale of A to G, with A being the most energy-efficient and G being the least energy-efficient. The report also includes recommendations for improvements that could be made to the building to increase its energy efficiency.

For those who want to sell their Paris apartment, there are things that can be done to improve the DPE so your apartment becomes more attractive to potential buyers. Possible work to improve the rating are insulating the interior walls, changing the windows to efficient double pane glass, and installing a new hot water tank and lower-temperature radiator. A new lower-temperature radiator can cost as little as €200. And new efficient windows can be between €400 and €700 each, or perhaps €2,000 for a new set of high end wood French doors.  A Controlled Mechanical Ventilation system would typically be around €900. Obviously, bigger changes cost more – a new gas condensing boiler can cost up to €6000. While interior wall insulation can vary from €20 to €50 per square meter.

Overall, the French DPE is an important tool for promoting energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in buildings in France. By providing information and recommendations to potential buyers or renters, the DPE can help to encourage the adoption of more energy-efficient practices and technologies, which can lead to significant benefits for both the environment and the economy.

The DPE can also be a useful tool for potential buyers or renters to compare the energy performance of different buildings and to make more informed decisions about potential costs further down the line.





Contact Paris Property Group to learn more about buying or selling property in Paris.

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