What is RE 2020?

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What is RE 2020?

Regulation: What is RE 2020?

The French government set a new regulation called the "RE2020" back in the summer of 2021. It aims to make future real estate constructions more respectful of the environment by way of decarbonizing cities in France. At the same time, it will improve energy savings and minimize carbon footprints.

Removing gas from new structures

The French government set the RE2020 to eliminate gas usage in new and upcoming real estate construction projects. It sets a ceiling on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, leading to less carbon-neutral consumption. For detached houses, the ceiling is set at 4 kgCO2eq/m²/year and all new real estate constructions must adhere to it. At the same time, the regulation bans gas usage for future real estate properties, whether they're residential apartments or commercial spaces, that will start as early as 2024

On the other hand, real estate apartments and condominium buildings have a higher ceiling for GHG emissions since they represent 75% of properties that require gas for heating. Their initial ceiling is 14 kgCO2eq/m²/year upon the implementation of RE2020. This is expected to decrease to only 6 kgCO2eq/m²/year by 2024

In light of this new regulation, the government favors the usage of energy systems such as heat pumps, photovoltaics, and hybrid solutions for any future properties.

Favouring bio-based raw materials

With the ER 2020 regulation emerges a new concept: the calculation of the life cycle of materials.

This calculation of the life cycle of materials will be measured in kgCO2/m² according to the surface area of the property. This way, it will be possible to determine the expectations set by the National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC). Compared to 2013, the regulation imposes a reduction of carbon emissions, which is expected to reduce to at least 30% by 2030. For this plan, the adaptation period starts in 2020 and will further decrease every three to four years.  As such, this gradual reduction aims to lessen emissions by 15% by 2024, by 25% by 2027, and eventually by 30% (or possibly 40%) by 2023

This calculation opens up the opportunity to prioritize bio-based materials such as cladding, wood, parquet, and paneling. And in terms of insulation, there are materials like cellulose, wood fibers, cork, and hemp. With this in mind, the regulation also aims to gradually phase out the use of steel and concrete. 

Valuing comfort in the summer period

The RE 2020 regulation also highlights an often-forgotten need: staying cool during summer. The Bbio (Bioclimatic Need) highlighted this notion and consequently introduced a new calculation method based on varying temperatures. The calculation couples these temperatures with a second indicator expressed in degrees per hour (DH), stopping architects and engineers from going beyond the threshold of 350 DH when designing construction projects. If they do go beyond the 350 DH threshold, a centralized ventilation system will be recommended to ensure the regulation of temperature within the property. 

At the same time, The government has also considered allowing the use of non-bio-based materials for the hottest regions, particularly the south (French Riviera) as long as the ceiling remains identical throughout the entire country.

Gradual application from 2021

In order to implement the environmental regulations (RE 2020), an order and a decree will be filed in early summer 2021. In order to establish a set of standards to make new constructions more environmentally friendly.
In return, many drastic rules will have to be mastered by professionals, implementation being planned gradually until 2030.
Building permits that have been filed before the entry into force will only be affected if they represent housing, educational structures or offices.

Ce qu’il faut retenir :
  • The French government set the new RE 2020 regulation with the aim to make new and future real estate construction projects more environmentally friendly.
  • The regulation was instituted back in the summer of 2021 and will gradually evolve by 2030.
  • With RE2020, the government also aims to eliminate gas usage in new real estate properties. 
  • It also promotes the use of bio-based materials in real estate.

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