Energy performance contracts, take off gently

Energy performance contracts, ideal tools for improving the energy efficiency of buildings, remain, for the moment, initiatives rare, in vast majority of the public sector. But the device of the future. Details.
The number of energy performance contracts (EPCS) that takes off slowly, but surely. It is the teaching that can be drawn from the results of the first observatory of the EPC, developed by the Ademe, the CSTB and the Cerema. They were presented on 20 June in the premises of CSTB in Paris, france. As a reminder, the principle of CPE is to guarantee the energy savings that will be realized over a given period (for example, 20% of energy consumed in less in ten years on the building X). “The idea of the warranty, that is what matters in this type of contract”, explained Olivier Ortega, lawyer specialised on this topic. “If the goal of lower energy consumption is not reached, you must therefore compensate the customer.”


This first version of the observatory, it appears that 245 CPE have been passed, in France, of which a large majority of public projects (87%). The trend since the first contracts awarded in 2007, is on the rise, especially since 2014. And this is not the end : in the first quarter of 2017, the same number of CPE has been spent in the first quarter of 2016. Three sectors of activity are privileged, the city, the residential and the academic world. More than half of the CPE are about 5 to 10 years.


Some CPE are self-fundable under five years


Up to a period of five years, the responses constitute an optimization of the systems. “This type of interventions are self-bankable”, says Olivier Ortega. Then come work on the systems (10-20 years), and finally the work on structures and systems (beyond). Logically, the longer the duration of commitment is high, more important is the intervention on the built environment.


What is the cost of the CPE ? When the goal is 0 to 25% gains on the energy consumption, the cost is 13 € /m2 (26% to 40%, 148 € /m2, over 40%, 422 euros/m2). It should be noted that when it comes to a big project, the investment focuses on many other elements that the only energy performance, which explains the high cost.


On the private market, the brakes to the CPES are many


This type of operation should, in the public, to be doped by the “decree tertiary”, published recently. “It’s going to be an engine for development of the CPE to almost certain. The public sector was set in motion, social landlords, local authorities…”, said Olivier Ortega.


But there remains the question of the private sector. Why is there so little ‘consumer’ of CPE, while “the system could be imported into the private sphere”, as the ensures Olivier Ortega ? Several obstacles have been identified. First of all, the lack of knowledge of the system, and the vision that have many actors from the private sector (a “gas factory”, according to them). The CPE also involves a long-term vision that all stakeholders do not adopt naturally. To go further, it would be, according to the members of the observatory, to raise public awareness of the possible gains on the energy bill, to propose simple devices, keys in hand, and make it clear that a CPE may be used as a tool of communication for sustainable development. Finally, force the manager of buildings and project owners to make it clear to the occupants that “energy efficiency” does not rhyme with “reduction in comfort”.


By what means is secured to the system ?
To guarantee the energy savings actually achieved on a building and a given time period, the profession is based on the protocol of american origin IPMVP (international protocol verification, and performance measurement). It is possible to calculate the level of expenditure of the building if no intervention had been carried out to improve its energy performance. It was designed by the company’s Efficiency valuation organization (EVO), a non-profit.

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