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News blog3 May 20235 min read

Pass-Rénovation: reducing energy consumption in residential buildings

Pass-Rénovation: reducing energy consumption in residential buildings

Picardie Pass Renovation is a technical and financial instrument designed by the Picardy regional Public Service for Energy Efficiency (SPEE) to help significantly reduce energy consumption in residential buildings and bring about local economic expansion. The aim is to break the deadlock on the energy renovation market in private housing and remove the barriers that keep household owners from investing.

Private property in the Region of Picardie (France) accounts for 15% of its greenhouse gas emissions. To rise to the challenge of energy renewal across its property portfolio, the region of Picardie (France) has launched the Pass Rénovation project. The programme began in 2013 and is operational since the second quarter of 2014. At first, Picardie Pass Renovation was the subject of an experimental phase on 12 communities of municipalities spread over the three departments of the former Picardy Region. 41 communities of municipalities and agglomeration communities, covering almost 90% of the population of the Picardy region are engaged in this initiative. Since January 2018, the experimentation of Hauts-de-France Condominium Pass has been extended to the whole Region.

The Project

The target group of Picardie Pass Renovation is private owners and co-owners of period properties. The Region is benefiting from the ELENA technical assistance mechanism (European Local ENergy Assistance) dedicated to local energy projects, initiated by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission. The ELENA subsidy amounts to € 1.8 M covering overheads. The European Investment Bank also participates in the financing of the project through a loan of €23.5M. Finally, the Region of Picardie participates up to €8M, covering initial renovation projects.

The mechanism encompasses all phases of the renovation project:

  • Custom technical support: information, personal advice, dwelling heat diagnosis, defining of the appropriate works schedule,
  • Project management and an all-inclusive financial solution through consultation
  • A selection of partner companies through tendering, site tracking, management and payment of bills from companies entrusted with the work,
  • Downstream, via personal tracking for 5 years: support for equipment use/maintenance, tracking of energy consumption, teaching on how to be green

Service offering

The management of the SPEE is ensured by the creation of a personalized agency that plays the role of project management assistant towards residential homeowners. It ensures services upstream, guaranteeing custom technical support to residential homeowners.

During the provision of the services the third party in financing and the contractors are both ensured by the SPEE or by partner institutions. Furthermore, SPEE offers long term accompaniment and maintenance of the equipment via personal tracking for 5 years. The accompaniment after works includes a satisfaction survey, ten months after receipt of the works. The objectives of this survey are to quantify the satisfaction of PSEE subscribers within the first two phases of the support, to record everyone’s observations, to identify expectations regarding post-works support and to prepare the annual monitoring.

The Financial model

First public operator to set up a third-party-financing mechanism, the PSEE seeks to implement a virtuous circle to bring about the expansion of the regional territory: reduced energy consumption across its property portfolio, combating the energy poverty, revival of the local economy in the construction sector and support for innovation. Through a dedicated public fund, the PSEE arranges third-party financing (EPC). This aims at facilitating the transformation of the energy savings achieved through thermal renovation operations into a financial resource that allows households repay the funding of their work

There is no direct funding: only PSEE advances the amount allocated to renovation works in the event of difficulty of financing. Beneficiaries then repay this advance based on financial savings generated on their energy bill after the renovation works. Owners are granted an advance on works, for an average of € 44,000. Once the works have been done, the owner will repay the public body an amount less than or equal to the post-renovation energy savings (on average 49% of savings, for a posted target of 46 to 75%-reduced final consumption). This advance on energy savings is granted at a rate of 2.5%, given over a period of 15 years, for equipment, and up to 25 years for building insulation works. Usually 85% of the energy cost savings are used for reimbursing the investment costs, and 15% remain with the end-customer. The EPC can be combined with white certificates, and grants.

Implementation of the Project

The deployment and implementation of the Picardie Pass Rénovation scheme is based on voluntary partnerships with local authorities, so that the whole chain is organized at local level. For local authorities, PSEE constitutes a mechanism for renovating private properties across the territory and combating the precarious nature of energy. Local authorities and other actors inform and detect beneficiaries, deploy local support closer to their citizens and mobilize local businesses and artisans. Partnership agreements in this respect link the communities and the SPEE Picardie.  The SPEE also structures and broadens training opportunities (training platforms at professional training schools in the region, «in pairs» meetings, etc.).

The SPEE is also an opportunity for the Craftsmen, in developing a new market and new skills throughout the sector. More than 680 local companies and craftsmen have joined the Picardie Pass Rénovation mechanism and around 40% of them have already been selected. This shows an increase of the dynamism and organization of professionals in heat renewal by stimulating company groups and launching invitations to tender. The technician of energy renovation is in charge of the technical part of the renovation operations and is the privileged interlocutor of the owner during all the project. he is in close collaboration with the other actors responsible for carrying out the work.

Key success factors

The program ended in 2018. At that time, 1240 owners of individual homes and collective housing unit had completed energy efficiency renovation projects. To date, PSEE counts more than 1428 renovated private housing of which 878 are in condominiums. The renovation works amounted 38 million of euros with a creation of around 420 jobs in the construction sector. The works included thermal insulation, installation of new windows, and the upgrading of heating and ventilation systems. There was a special need to adresse housing units heated by oil or electricity, which were prioritized. So far, 7288 homes entered in contact with the public service. 2,758 thermal diagnoses have been realized and 312 homes already renovated.

In total, the project allowed for a greenhouse gas reductions of 3400 tonnes a year and an average final energy savings of 53% (18.3 GWh savings a year). Check out here for more information on the results.

The success of the progamme in improving energy efficiency has generated interest in other regions (such as the Tipperary County in Ireland) who based its energy efficiency plan on the Picardy model. Eventually, the public authorities in Picardie may also benefit from the mechanism for renewal of their municipal housings. It also amounts as a European Best Practice example, and was for example included in a report Published by the European Commission: "Boosting finance in energy efficiency investments in buildings, industry and SMEs"

Future steps and challenges

The focus on multi-apartment buildings for which decisions processes are lengthier than for individual homeowners affected the final leverage factor. SPEE Picardie has currently in his portfolio an additional investment potential of EUR 4m that will be possibly implemented in the next two years.


Publication date
3 May 2023