Énergie Positive & Réduction Carbine (E+C) – Voluntary Labelling Scheme (France), 2016


France’s National Low Carbon Strategy (2015) aims to achieve nationwide roll-out of positive energy buildings and to reduce GHG emissions from the building sector by 50% in 2030 relative to 2015 and by 87% in 2050. For buildings, France launched the E+C, a voluntary labelling scheme, which adopts a unified approach to ensuring that buildings of the future will be energy-positive (i.e. produce more energy than they consume) and low carbon throughout their entire lifecycle. This E+C label follows on from the French thermal regulations RT2012, which aim to limit the primary energy consumption of new buildings, and which is now transitioning towards French environmental regulations RE 2020, which additionally focuses on carbon performance targets. It is a pilot program launched by the state to establish regulatory methods and tools.

Key parameters and components of this methodology are:

  • The use of French generic data as well as the INIES database, which gathers EPDs abiding by the European Standard 15804 and its French annex. The rating system does not allow use of any other data for these assessments.
  • Energy performance of buildings calculations is a mandatory input for the LCA. This means that the LCA always integrates the energy assessments.
  • Software tools implementing the methodology are verified and approved by the government. Third-party verification of the LCA results are only done for projects applying for the E+C- label.

There are two performance levels:

  • Positive energy (E+) a high energy performance (operation phase), 4 levels (E1 to E4);
    • Energy 1 (5% reduction in non-renewable energy consumption)
    • Energy 2 (10% reduction in non-renewable energy consumption)
    • Energy 3 (20% reduction in non-renewable energy and >20 kWh/m2/yr of Renewable Energy consumption)
    • Energy 4 (<0 kWh/m²/yr => Positive energy building)
  • Low carbon (C-) a high environmental/carbon performance (construction, operation and end of life phases). Buildings are placed into the following categories based on the building use and embodied carbon per square metre as shown in Table under the section of Embodied Carbon Assessment:
    • “Carbone 1” (C1) is the entry level intended to be accessible to all construction methods and energy vectors as well as to operations which are subject to multiple constraints (seismic zone, type of soil, etc.); it aims to involve all building stakeholders in the process of evaluating the impacts of the building over its entire life cycle and their reduction;
    • “Carbone 2” (C2) is a good performance level aimed to promote the most efficient operations; it requires increased work to reduce the carbon footprint of the materials and equipment used, as well as that of the building’s energy consumption.

Table: E+C Summary of Carbon assessment levels

Building Type Entry Level:

Carbone 1 Kg CO2e/m2

Good performance Level:

Carbone 2 Kg CO2e/m2

Single family or row houses 700 650
Apartment buildings 800 750
Office buildings 1050 900
Other regulated buildings 1050 750

The system as shown in table above provides a degree of adjustment to the carbon performance targets for projects with underground car parking, as well as high altitude projects. The values are given for single-family homes, multi-family residential, offices, and as a single group for all other building types. The improved performance level, C2, can be used as criterion in public procurement or zoning, in effect working as a density bonus to build up to 30% additional surface on the plot.

The methodology covers the entire building, its complete life-cycle, and allows use of fixed default values for simplifying assessment e.g. for electrification. The methodology has two types of carbon values, one for embodied carbon and another encompassing both embodied carbon and operational carbon. Both must be met at once. The embodied carbon caps are increased by 700 kg CO2e for each above-ground parking place and by 3000 kg CO2e for each underground parking place the local zoning bylaws require from the project (as long as those places are also built by the builder). The methodology calculates the values for a 50-year period, and divides it by total building area.

1) Énergie Positive & Réduction Carbine (E+C) – Voluntary Labelling Scheme (France),

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