French regulations promote a more climate-friendly building industry | Jones Day

On January 1, 2022, new French environmental regulations (“RE2020”) come into force, replacing the old thermal regulations (“RT 2012”). RE2020 creates new rules for the energy, environmental and health performance of new real estate projects with the clear objective of ensuring that future buildings in France will meet the challenges of climate change.

In this regard, this legislation pursues two objectives. Firstly, it aims to strengthen the requirements for new buildings in order to reduce the carbon footprint linked to the building industry and its impact on climate change throughout the life cycle of buildings. Second, it aims to strengthen the resilience of construction to the consequences of climate change.

To achieve these objectives, RE2020 requires that new construction projects, including for building renovation, meet several objectives, such as optimizing the overall energy design, reducing primary energy consumption, reducing the impact on climate change of this consumption and building components, as well as the limitation of thermal pollution in buildings during the summer period.

Project Managers (“building owners“) buildings falling within the scope of RE2020 must submit declarations and certificates establishing that the project complies with the performance indicators and thresholds defined by decrees and ministerial decrees as part of the building permit application. A certificate attesting that the building meets the requirements set by RE2020 will also have to be established by a qualified professional at the end of the construction site. Finally, additional energy performance requirements are set for non-residential buildings, such as healthcare establishments or industrial buildings.

The RE2020 applies to residential buildings for which permit applications have been submitted as of January 1, 2022. It will gradually be extended to other constructions, such as office buildings and associated parking lots, for permit applications. permits filed after July 1, 2022. In addition to this timeline, and to ensure that adjustments can be made to the requirements if they prove to be too ambitious, performance indicators will be used to determine whether RE2020 is working as intended.

RE2020 creates both new challenges and new opportunities for various sectors associated with the construction industry. (Indeed, challenges are sure to arise due to the complex technical nature of some requirements.) Overall, this legislation should accelerate the development of a more climate-compatible building industry. In particular, it should increase the attractiveness of biosourced building materials and more efficient energy sources.

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