Reducing the energy consumption of public housing

A project to rebuild and refurbish a massive public housing estate in southern France has led to a dramatic increase in energy efficiency and a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

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Part of the renovated Torcatis housing estate in Perpignan. Part of the renovated Torcatis housing estate in Perpignan.

The Résidence Torcatis in the city of Perpignan was built in the 1970s when standards of insulation and energy efficiency were not as high on the political agenda as they have become in the 21st century.

Nine buildings containing some 184 apartments were demolished as part of the project and were replaced with new buildings containing 105 apartments. The project also involved the refurbishment of 10 further buildings, containing 164 apartments and housing some 734 tenants. In total 269 new or refurbished low energy apartments were created as a result of the project.

The refurbishment work included installing low heat loss windows, the thermal insulation of external walls and roofs, the installation of a condensation boiler and a solar energy powered water heating system on the roofs of buildings.

Reducing fuel bills for tenants

Thanks to the investment, the estate’s energy use has been slashed from an average of 187 kW (kilowatts) per year per square metre of residential space to 50 kW/m². At the same time, emissions of carbon dioxide have fallen from an annual 41 kg per square metre to just 1 kg/m². The improvements mean that each flat can expect to save at least EUR 150 per year in reduced fuel bills.

The project also involved informing estate residents about how they could better manage and reduce their energy use.

Project manager Eric Serin said that the refurbishment project had been technically successful and that the financial management of the project between various partners had been carried out in an exemplary fashion. The project had given an extended lease of life to old housing stock and would allow 164 families the opportunity of living in agreeable surroundings with low fuel bills.

“The quicker we invest in energy sustainability in old housing stock, the more money will be saved and this will impact on the purchasing power of tenants as well as benefiting the sustainability of the planet.”

-  Eric Serin, Project Manager

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Energy efficiency in the local authority housing in Perpignan” amounted to EUR 8 528 000, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 804 682 from the Operational Programme “Languedoc-Roussillon” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

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