CE22 - Sociétés urbaines, territoires, constructions et mobilité

Prescribing and modeling renovation works using Energy Efficiency Rating Scales - Socio-technical and economic analysis of a public policy instrument – PREMOCLASSE

Prescribing and modeling energy renovation works according to EPC classes - Sociotechnical economics of a public policy instrument

In a context where the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) plays an increasing role in guiding the renovation sector (prioritisation of buildings to be renovated, conditioning of aid, but also modelling of energy demand, and, in the future, enforceability), PREMOCLASSE provides interdisciplinary knowledge (sociology, economics, building techno-economics).

Objective and issues at stake

The energy renovation of buildings is now one of the major challenges of the ecological transition, to which ambitious transformation objectives have been assigned. Designated as a «national priority« at the end of 2017 and provided with new resources and tools, the policy conducted in this area has reaffirmed the objective of carrying out 500,000 efficient renovations of housing per year and achieving the «low energy consumption« level for the entire housing stock by 2050.<br />The PREMOCLASSE project examines the structuring role of one of these instruments, the EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) in the prescription and modelling of energy renovation work. The EPC is used as an instrument for measuring the energy performance of housing.<br />Although the use of the EPC is now well established in practice, it is currently undergoing major changes as work is being undertaken at government and parliamentary level to increase its reliability and make it enforceable.

The project proposes a multidisciplinary approach to understand the link between targeting performance by the EPC and the implementation of «renovation gestures« (thermal insulation, change of heating mode, double glazing, etc.). It is based on two aspects: on the one hand, prospective modelling (Res-IRF model) and on the other hand, the practical implementation of renovation policies based on this instrument. Indeed, the measurements from the EPC of housing are part of the data used by the «Res-IRF« model. Developed at CIRED since 2008 with the support of public and private funding (CGDD, ADEME, ATEE), this model is currently a major source of macro-economic forecasting data on renovation. The measures resulting from the EPC are also part of the indicators used in the programming of energy renovation operations.

In progress

In progress

In progress

In the building sector, the organisation of retrofit markets heavily draws on information and standard-setting devices developed by the public authorities to shape the action of companies and customers. The PREMOCLASSE project questions the role of one of them: the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).

While EPC is now mainly used, by legal obligation, on the real estate transaction market, its role is increasing in governmental efforts at steering energy renovation of buildings. The PREMOCLASSE project proposes an alliance between disciplines and approaches to analyse the different roles of EPC in the renovation sector. It particularly seeks to understand the relationship between two aspects that are only partially related in current practices: on the one hand, the measurement of energy performance by the EPC, and on the other hand, the implementation of specific retrofit works to improve it.

The projects intends to make three different contributions.
1. In the field of social sciences, the project will develop research on the role of EPC in shaping energy renovation policies and, more generally, on the mobilisation of valuation instruments and processes in socio-political and economic change. The contribution will be both conceptual (development of the links between the sociology of public action and markets and the sociology of energy and building) and empirical (the case study of the EPC will be fully documented from the socio-historical angle and from the angle of socio-professional practices in the fields concerned).
2. In the field of modelling, the project will contribute to enriching and improving an integrated energy-economy modelling tool for the housing stock: the “Res-IRF” model. The aim will be to improve the descriptive capabilities of the tool by including the types of renovation work that can be done. It will also seek to improve its robustness by integrating sociological data that can increase the realism of the modelling.
3. In the field of energy assessment; the project will build scenarios for the composition of the residential housing stock by 2050 based on close cooperation between sociological, technical and economic approaches. Interdisciplinarity will be exercised upstream in the definition of hypotheses and downstream in the analysis of results leading to original scenarios of building stock evolution.

By combining disciplines that are often specialised in analysing specific sub-segments of energy policy (engineering sciences, sociology, economics), the PREMOCLASSE project takes an original position in the still fragmented field of studies on buildings, energy systems and renovation. However, it goes beyond what these approaches usually propose. First, it includes both fundamental dimensions (modelling, social sciences) and application dimensions (prospective scenarios). Second, it makes both a positive (optimisation of modelling, knowledge of the practices of professionals in the field, development of scenarios) and reflexive (feedback between measurement and what is measured) contribution to addressing the challenges of energy renovation in housing. Finally, and this is one of the distinctive characteristics of the project, it brings knowledge specific to EDF R&D (technical-economic approach to buildings, knowledge of the types of works and prices for energy renovation) toward more open academic research.

The fact that EDF R&D, Armines and CIRED are combining their expertise on the subject of the economic efficiency of energy renovation has a scope that goes far beyond these organizations. Indeed, Premoclasse results will form a knowledge base and proposals that can be mobilized for future developments of EPCs (enforceability, environmental performance, etc.). Also an appropriation of the Premoclasse results by public and private actors in the energy renovation sector could allow an optimization of the economic instruments to encourage and make the renovation more reliable.

Project coordination

Catherine Grandclément (ELECTRICITE DE FRANCE)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CIRED Centre international de recherche sur l'environnement et le développement
ARMINES Association pour la Recherche et le Développement des Méthodes et Processus Industriels (ARMINES) / CSI

Help of the ANR 490,943 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2019 - 36 Months

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