The national scourge of energy insecurity

In drafty housing, damp walls, the laundry drying for several days, trouble falling asleep because of the cold are all symptoms of a lack of energy comfort. In France, these living conditions affect 6.6 million people (renters and owner-occupiers) victims of energy insecurity. There are solutions to finance the work of eco-renovation able to curb the phenomenon.

What is energy insecurity?

We estimate households devoting more than 10% of their income on energy costs are in a situation of excessive energy effort rate (TEE). In 2013, the INSEE housing survey enumerates 3.6 million households (6.6 million people) concerned. That year,
4 767 000 households reported having suffered from the cold in their housing, 18.8% of households, of which 27.3% for modest households. Energy insecurity comes from the combination of several factors: the rising costs of energy and trade-offs imposed between the different items of expenditure, the bad insulation of the housing and the weak performance of the heating equipment. Between 2006 and 2013 the phenomenon clearly worsened, with a 25% increase within people claiming to have suffered from the cold in their housing. In 2017, France still counts 7.5 million dwellings of class F or G, the “energy strainers”.

Who are the victims of energy insecurity?

In 2013, 1 123 000 person were housed in condominiums knowing difficulties in management and buildings in a bad state. Homeowners and tenants are affected by energy insecurity, even if there is an over-representation of precarious tenants in condominiums in difficulties. Among them, single-parent families are in the majority. They are mainly found in buildings constructed before 1975 equipped with collective heating.

Combine eco-renovation, social work and public policies to combat energy insecurity

The last 2017 report of the Abbé Pierre Foundation reports that in France, among the non-decent housing, “19.7% have windows letting air unusually, 20.6% have problems with heat insulation of the walls or the roof and 20.7% identified signs of moisture on some walls of the housing” (the State of bad-housing in France 2017, annual report #22, p. 296). The political approaches to the issue are struggling to encompass all dimensions of energy insecurity. They deal with environmental, social and economic components separately.
On the social and associative scale, only the initiative Renovate is distinguished by its overall approach to the bad housing and a road mapping concrete to rehabilitate energy strainers in France by 2025.

How may households fund the necessary work?

There is public aid for the renewal to which households are entitled to finance part of the renovation work.
The national improvement (ANAH) agency through its program “Live better “ pays up to 12,000€   per dwelling if the work saves the energy consumption by at least 25%.
The eco-interest loan with zero rate (eco – PTZ) allows households to borrow up to € 30,000 for work improving the energy comfort of housing built before 1990. Social funds of aid in the work of energy control (FATSME) are available for small work (replacement of boiler for example).
Energy savings certificates (EEC) allow individuals to repay a portion of their procurement from energy suppliers. They are available in superstores from specialized in construction and DIY.