There are other solutions than “all electric”

New regulations will soon determine the type of heating that the French will have to adopt for their homes. According to rumor and, under cover of obscure coefficients that few initiates master, electric heating in new homes or renovations could become almost compulsory. End of the game for other energies?

In reality, this game will result in a lot more losers than it seems. The French first and in particular the most precarious among them who will be the first exposed to one of the most expensive heating methods. Then the climate, since the proposed regulations relegate energy savings to the background and will lead to an increase in CO2 emissions. Finally, our energy system, because it will be de-optimized and will require major investments.

→ THE FACTS. Gas professionals attack the state

The energy unions, which have long been attached to the gas and electricity mix, are well aware that the quest to control consumption occupies a good place among the concerns of consumers. In the latest opinion survey carried out by SIGEIF among customers of the member municipalities of Île de France (Nov / Dec 2019), more than three quarters of those questioned affirmed that they are striving to control their consumption with the main motivation being to reduce the amount of their energy expenditure (65% for gas, 73% for electricity).
Based on this observation, there are solutions other than “all electric” to support a more sober housing energy policy, both environmentally and economically. Building housing with very good insulation quality, better insulating existing housing is the priority.

Relying on the equipment of a hybrid heating which combines a heat pump of low power (electric) and a small very high performance gas boiler would also have beneficial effects.

→ ANALYSIS. All electric is essential in new homes

This type of installation would not only be cheaper to purchase than a large heat pump, but also more economical in operation than voracious electric heaters, even redesigned. The homes thus equipped could benefit from largely carbon-free electricity when temperatures are mild and from the least carbon solution when it is cold. Today, any additional electric heating already mobilizes highly carbon-intensive electricity production means which are in great demand during the winter.

The resulting hybrid energy system would be more energy efficient and more robust to guarantee consumers continuity of supply. Even in the absence of wind and sun, the very large storage capacities of gas infrastructures would ensure, as today, solidarity and resilience for our industry and our territories.

→ READ ALSO. Gas does not want to be replaced by electricity

This perfectly integrated system could thus fully benefit from the new means of production of renewable electricity and gas that our country plans to build. Energy operators would in fact be able to offer the best energy and environmental optimum at all times, without making the French endure unnecessary and expensive reinforcements to our electricity system.

To get out of this deadlock and because the climate differs greatly from one region to another, shouldn’t the State also entrust communities with adopting their own regulations on the energy consumption of housing? This measure would thus be consistent with the new powers that the Regions have had since the adoption of the NOTRe Law.
There is still time to take the conception of this regulatory project on new bases and to move away from a centralized and single vector logic. This would make it possible to provide more competitive solutions, adapted to each territory, and to mobilize all the energy infrastructures which are so many assets for our country, as soon as we believe in their complementarity.
This would above all prevent the French and our planet from dangerous and costly backtracking.


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