Energy renovation in condominiums and available grants

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Energy renovation works are essential to reduce energy consumption within a condominium. The aim is to improve the thermal performance of the property significantly reducing the owners' bills. In the context of a rental real estate investment, this helps to enhance one's assets and thus optimize the profitability of the project. However, such works can be particularly burdensome. What are the obligations governing the energy renovation of a condominium building? What aids are available to finance the works? All you need to know about energy renovation in condominiums is covered in this article.

Energy Renovation in Condominiums : Definition

In France, the condominium status of a building is governed by the law of July 10, 1965. According to Article 1 of this law, the term "condominium" refers to one or more buildings used for residential purposes. In this case, each occupant is called a co-owner. As for management, it relies on the syndicate's power of a manager, also called the condominium syndicate.

In general, each co-owner can have two lots: the private part and the share of common areas.

Energy renovation in condominiums therefore involves improving the thermal comfort of a collective building. This operation has both ecological (carbon footprint reduction) and economic (energy savings) impacts. However, decision-making proves to be lengthy and complex. Indeed, energy renovation works require a prior vote by an absolute majority at a General Meeting (GM) organized by the condominium syndicate.

What the Law Says About Energy Renovation in Condominiums

To encourage syndicates and co-owners to undertake renovation works, some measures have been taken by the government.

The Energy Performance Diagnosis (EPD) and Energy Audit

As the name suggests, the EPD is a process aimed at studying and assessing the energy performance of a building. It is based in particular on the evaluation of the energy consumption of a dwelling and its impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

In principle, condominiums with fewer than 50 units are required to carry out an energy performance diagnosis, especially if their heating system is collective. However, if the number of units exceeds this figure, an energy audit is mandatory. The professional in charge then conducts detailed analyses of energy uses and proposes a renovation plan and cost estimate. An audit also includes an energy performance diagnosis.

For some condominiums, the realization of a (Global Technical Diagnosis (GTD) is mandatory. This is particularly the case for housing over 10 years old or in a state of disrepair.

Accumulation of a Works Fund

Since 2015, condominiums have been required to establish a works fund to finance any necessary renovations. Consequently, co-owners are required to pay an annual contribution equivalent to at least 5% of the budget forecast for the year.

It should be noted, however, that the works fund mainly concerns buildings with more than 10 units. For smaller condominiums, the decision to establish such a fund depends on a unanimous vote of the co-owners at a general meeting.

Individualization of heating costs in condominiums

Condominiums with a shared heating system are required to individualize heating costs. This involves allocating the expenses for heating system renovation among all co-owners. Typically, charges are distributed based on each co-owner's actual consumption rather than their share. This rule aims to raise awareness among households about energy savings.

The obligation to individualize heating costs in condominiums depends on the energy consumption rate of the building, especially if it falls between 80 kWh/m² and 120 kWh/m² per year. Implementation of this system occurs through a general meeting led by the condominium syndicate.

What renovations are needed for energy efficiency in common areas of condominiums?

Following the Energy Performance Diagnosis (EPD) and energy audit, the condominium syndicate will identify necessary works, which may include :

Insulation of attics and roof terraces

As primary sources of heat loss, attics and roof terraces are top priorities for energy renovation. Insulating them is essential for achieving optimal energy savings in the building.

For insulating a condominium's attics, the process involves applying a layer of thermal insulation. For inaccessible attics, insulation is applied to the floors. In contrast, insulation is installed on the sloping roof if the attics are convertible.

Insulation of walls

In addition to attics and roof terraces, exterior walls can also contribute to energy loss in a building. External Thermal Insulation (ETI) involves installing insulating panels on the outer parts of the walls. This not only optimizes heat retention inside the property but also contributes to the building's facade renovation.

Replacement of heating and lighting systems

Old heating appliances (oil, gas, coal, etc.) consume a significant amount of energy. Thus, replacing them ensures optimal energy performance.

Lighting systems in common areas also play a significant role in condominium energy renovation. For instance, old incandescent bulbs are highly energy-intensive. Why not replace them with LED luminaires? This way, co-owners can save up to 90% on common area lighting bills.

Insulation of pipes

Poorly insulated water networks can affect the health of a collective habitat. Pipe insulation, also known as pipe lagging, is essential to prevent heat loss from pipes and water channels. This should be done for both hot and cold water circulation to address thermal losses and condensation.

Insulation of subfloors

At the ground floor level of a condominium, insulating subfloors or low floors will optimize the retention of warm air. This involves spraying mineral wool (spray) or installing wool panels on the ceiling of the basement or cellar.

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Available aids for financing energy renovation works in condominiums

In the context of carrying out renovation works in condominiums, seeking financing is crucial, especially for significant operations. Fortunately, several aid programs are currently available.

MaPrimeRénov' aid

Since January 1st, 2021, the Energy Transition Tax Credit (CITE) from Anah has been replaced by MaPrimeRénov' aid. This program, now accessible to all co-owners, provides a means of financing renovation works. However, the amount granted varies depending on the applicant's income and the scope of the works. Additionally, certain conditions must be met to benefit from it, including:

  • the building must be constructed for over 15 years ;
  • 75% of the dwellings must be primary residences ;
  • co-owners must be facing financial difficulties ;
  • the building has an energy label between D and G (fairly energy-intensive building due to poor energy performance).

Furthermore, the works covered by this aid include those related to the renovation of common areas, including insulation, equipment installation, heating network connection, etc.

MaPrimeRénov' aid from Anah provides assistance at a rate of 25% of the work amount per dwelling with a limit of €5,250. Moreover, it comes with a bonus of €500 per dwelling if the works enable the property to move out of energy class F or G. This also applies if the property reaches class A or B (very energy-efficient building) thanks to the renovation works carried out.

The CEE bonus (Energy saving certificate)

In addition to MaPrimeRénov', the CEE premium is also available to finance renovation works in condominiums. Co-owners can resort to it, especially if the building is over 2 years old. Moreover, the condominium syndicate is required to consult the list of eligible works for this program. Additionally, it must be submitted to a vote by an absolute majority at a general meeting to decide on it collectively.

As a reference, eligible works for the CEE premium include :

  • insulation of attics, walls, floors, ceilings ;
  • installation of renewable energy equipment, such as thermodynamic water heaters, condensing gas boilers, heat pumps, etc.;
  • window renovation...

The amount of the CEE premium is calculated by multiplying the number of cumac kWh (unit of a CEE) by the unit price on the market.

Eco-loan at zero interest rate or eco-PTZ

The eco-loan at zero interest rate, or eco-PTZ, is another option for financing energy renovation in condominiums. This loan allows borrowing up to €30,000 per dwelling. However, financing via the eco-PTZ is only possible if :

  • 75% of the dwellings are primary residences;
  • the building was constructed before January 1st, 1990.

The eco-PTZ can be used to finance the following works :

  • those aimed at achieving a certain level of energy performance improvement (proposed by a dedicated study bureau) ;
  • installation of a heating system using renewable energy ;
  • renovation of a domestic hot water production system with renewable energy ;
  • insulation of roofs, walls...

With no bank interest rate to pay, this program will enable financing the majority of works during a condominium renovation project.

Mathieu Amara

Mathieu Amara

Graduated in political science, I have always been passionate about renovation and construction work.

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