How the trial scheme works

Trial Scheme: an innovative approach

The French government is acting to engage the construction sector in the creation of positive energy, low-carbon buildings via a collective and shared approach.

The first stage in this approach is to carry out a trial phase, commissioning firms to construct buildings with higher performance ratings than those stipulated in current legislation, before gathering feedback from the experience. This feedback, bearing the weight of our energy and environmental ambitions, will allow us to assess the technical feasibility and economic sustainability of the initiative, leading to a second phase that will lay out the requirements to be included in future legislation.

The buildings of the future will be energy-positive and low-carbon emitting throughout their entire life cycle.

Who is involved in the trial scheme?

Involvement in the trial scheme is voluntary.

Any property developer interested in constructing buildings according to the specifications set for the trial phase may participate in the scheme.
In doing so they will be testing the technical and economic feasibility of solutions that reduce consumption of non-renewable energy, promote renewables and encourage the use of materials, energy systems and construction techniques with low carbon footprints.

What types of buildings can be included in the trial scheme?

The method for evaluating energy and environmental performance levels, developed for use in this trial phase, may be applied to any building that meets the following criteria:

  • he building is under construction or has been recently built (buildings that have been restored or renovated therefore do not qualify),
  • the building is located in a metropolitan area,
  • the building is in compliance with France’s 2012 energy efficiency standards.

For buildings that do not fall within the 2012 energy efficiency standards, the evaluation method cannot be applied as is; an adapted method must therefore be used with support from the DHUP.

What purpose does the trial scheme serve?

  • Preparing the industry for the construction of buildings that perform to the energy standards of the future. In doing so, the building sector is taking a further step toward the adoption of environmentally-friendly technologies and procedures;
  • Getting operators involved in the development of future legislation. The feedback gained from this initiative will allow us to lay out requirements for future regulations, creating high-performance buildings in a cost-effective way;
  • Driving innovation in the construction sector, in terms of both energy systems and building methods with lower carbon footprints.

How do operators participate in the trial scheme?

Property developers wishing to take part in the trial phase are invited to design, build and evaluate buildings:

  • according to the frame of reference drawn up by the government;
  • while striving to meet suggested performance targets for energy use and carbon emissions.

Operators may verify the achievement of these targets themselves (self-assessment), or may undergo assessment by a certification body (independent third parties approved by government) who will provide an impartial evaluation of the building’s energy performance and compliance with the frame of reference, as well as providing guidance during the early stages of the project.
Operators may participate in the initiative during various stages of development, and recently-completed builds are also eligible.

How can participants demonstrate that their building(s) have met performance targets? Is there a certification label?

The E+C- certification label has been created for the initiative, and indicates that a building meets precise performance targets. The label is awarded by accredited certification bodies (COFRAC or European equivalents) having been approved to do so by the French government. For a list of certification bodies, see the “A New Certification” section.

Operators who have been awarded the E+C- label may use the associated title and visuals for their own business communications.
Participation in the trial scheme is not dependent on adhesion to the certification approval process. Property developers may still voluntarily participate in the scheme provided they adhere to the reference framework.

How will the scheme be monitored?

As a whole, the trial scheme is co-directed by the government and the Executive Council for Construction and Energy Efficiency, under the terms of a multi-party agreement entered into with the government.

The scheme is overseen by an Observatory, whose role is to collect data on the technical and economic characteristics of the operations involved in the trial phase, as well as feedback and best practices to be used in the drafting of future legislation.
All property developers involved in the trial phase (or their building certification body if they have applied for a certification label for their building) must use the database created for the trial scheme, entering the technical and economic data for the project.