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France’s environmental regulation RE 2020

Why has France introduced new environmental regulations for buildings?

It is widely recognised that the climate is changing due to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The built environment contributes almost 40% of that CO2. Many countries in the past years have legislated to improve the performance of the built environment and France is no different. The French Government introduced RE 2020 at the start of 2022 having delayed its implementation due to the global pandemic. The introduction is a phased process over three years and the legislation creates a more rigorous benchmark for testing and evaluation of the built environment.

insulation, attic insulation, thermal regulations, RE2020

What criteria are included in the new RE 2020 regulations?

RT 2012 was quite a blunt instrument and was open to a degree of manipulation. There was no requirement for assessing the possibility of overheating, there was no requirement to assess a building based on its orientation and there was no requirement to give much detail on the materials that were to be used. The new regulations now demand an assessment of the possibility of overheating which is directly linked to the buildings orientation and the regulations also now require an assessment of the carbon footprint of the materials that are to be used. There are a number of other assessment criteria that are contained within RE2020 including: Primary energy consumption Climatic impact of the energy consumption Impact of the construction materials on the climate Number of days the inhabitants of the building would be uncomfortable due to the internal temperature The quality and type of the heating, cooling and lighting systems used.

Completing an assessment alongside the planning application

Completing an assessment alongside the planning application The new regulations create an added obligation on the applicant to develop a design that satisfies the criteria mentioned above. As with the old RT2012 regulations an assessment has to be completed to be issued alongside the planning application. The new RE 2020 regulations also now mean that there is a higher likelihood there would need to be changes made to the designs during the design phases to make sure that all parts of the regulations were covered.


 RE 2020 implementation timetable

  • January 1st, 2022: Regulations apply to all NEW buildings under construction – any new build house applications from January 2022 will have to be accompanied by a RE 2020 attestation.

  • July 2022: Regulations apply to all new offices, public buildings and schools.

  • From 31st December 2022: A regulatory label on energy performance will be introduced for all buildings.

  • January 2023: Regulations apply to all extensions and temporary constructions. Until the end of 2022 all buildings under 50m2 and any extensions under 150m2 are still required to comply with RT2012 regulations.

French Plans work with dedicated thermal engineers on the majority of our planning application projects so that we can be confident that the building that we submit at planning will comply or perform better that the RE2020 regulations. Please get in touch if you wish to discuss further.

Would you like to know more?

If you are also looking to realise your own plans in France, whether it is a renovation, a new build, an extension or another project, residential or commercial – please get in touch.

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