The Opecst is working on the issue of energy efficiency in buildings

TRADE. For its first working meeting under the chairmanship of Cédric Villani, the parliamentary Office for evaluation of scientific and technological choices is questioned on the means of the building to face the challenges of innovation. The deputies and senators interviewed a panel of experts from the worlds academic and industrial.
Cédric Villani, mathematician of renown, and recent member of parliament of The Republic In March, has presided over on Wednesday 26 July 2017, for its first working session at the head of the parliamentary Office for evaluation of scientific and technological choices (Opecst). A session on the theme of innovation in the building, as he explains : “It was important to make this meeting, focused on the important issue of energy and building“. The chairman briefly recalled the challenges of this topic : “The sector represents 40 % of energy consumption and 25 % of CO2 emissions. The reduction targets set by the law of energy Transition for the new construction and the existing fleet will not be easy to hold“. Before discussing a report of his predecessors to the Opecst, and Jean-Yves Le Déaut and Marcel Deneux, who was complaining that in 2014 the evaluation of innovation, in particular by the CSTB : “He spoke of shock therapy. Is it over ?“, asked Cédric Villani.


Mobilize more public funding and private R&D


Francis Allard, of the Laboratory of engineering sciences for the environment, a specialist in energy issues in the building, intervened to put the setting : it deplored the fact that the building sector, generating a turnover of 130 Bn € per year, allocates only 0.1% of this amount to R&D, compared to 2% on average in other industries. “Yet the societal challenges are based on three major issues : minimize the energy demand without compromising the comfort or the health, to limit the environmental impact at the local level and finally eradicate fuel poverty“, sets out there. For the specialist, the building is a domain of technology application, whether it be materials, systems, methodologies, instruments and tools, or even behaviors. Because, according to Francis Allard, the mobilization of the social sciences is not yet large enough in the CONSTRUCTION industry : “An assessment of social impacts, health and global financial markets, is necessary“, says he. However, research face of dwindling budgets (only 1 to 2 projects per year are supported by the ANR in the vast area of the building/urban planning/mobility), to a workforce too small and difficult to mobilize an entire community on issues yet crucial.


Improve productivity and regain the trust of consumers


Then, Didier Roux, a member of the Academy of technology, delivered the point of view of the industry on the French market : “What are the needs ? The end customer is satisfied ! Studies That Select on the developers and builders of individual houses and on the energy renovation and the label WILL show that they are disappointed. There is a deep gap with the other sectors of the industry“. The one who has been the director of research and innovation of Saint-Gobain, continues : “The other problem is the lack of improvement in labour productivity. It has been multiplied by 16 in the industry between 1950 and 2015, but only by 3 in the building, and it is even in decline for the past fifteen years“. The workers are therefore less productive and the cost would become unreasonable. The market would suffer from a lack of trust between end-users and players in the sector. The expert discusses the report in digital and uberisation of the economy, where new players are inserted at intervals between the client and the historical actor. For him, the sector should organise itself and work with its startups and large companies, before a giant like Google took over. On the energy-efficient renovation, it is also critical : “The objective is very far from being reached and this world is living in the fantasy of what is not done…“. Didier Roux believes that we should not oppose renovations passive (steering) and active (work), since they complement each other, in the same way that he considers “ridiculous” the battle between the energy and the imbalance maintained to the detriment of the electricity but low-carbon : “It is perfectly possible to heat a building with electricity, if it is well insulated. It is wrong objective“.
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To facilitate the experiments


Etienne Wurtz, research director at CEA-Ines, Chambéry, then spoke. He soon presented all the progress made in the insulation of buildings, especially in the middle of aerogels projected or in plates, sheets or window performance. According to him, prior to a renovation of industrialized housing by equipment and envelopes built-in, it will be necessary to resolve the problems of management of interfaces between products and materials. This is why it requires a “right to experiment” : “there is too little room for error in France compared to other countries. It would make things easier to accelerate innovation and to see technology develop“. According to the director of research, the deployment of photovoltaic collectors will spread to all elements of the buildings such as roof tiles and glazing. And he regrets the problematic situation of solar thermal energy, “yet a solution to heating and hot water tomorrow“, rejected because of setbacks in the past. Etienne Wurtz considers, finally, that the issue of indoor air quality is, for the moment, drowned out by the approach low-carbon future environmental regulation of the building, which is expected in 2020. Some of the topics that the members of the Opecst study under the direction of Cédric Villani at future meetings.

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