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why the government wants to renovate the DPE, a barometer of the energy performance of homes

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The energy performance diagnosis has become a central element of the ecological transition. The target of much criticism in recent years, it was reformed in 2023 but not sufficiently, according to professionals, parliamentarians and the government.

DPE. These three letters, which designate the energy performance diagnosis, have become essential when it comes to real estate. This document allows you to classify housing from A to G based on their energy consumption and their impact on the climate. This diagnosis is obligatory in housing intended to be inhabited.

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The Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, announced once again on Monday October 9 “to wish” that the DPE be modified to adapt in particular “heating methods” and to “the size of the surfaces”. “Let’s change the energy diagnosis since it’s obviously not the right indicator”, he estimated on Sud Radio. This DPE has become all the more important as the Climate and Resilience law plans to gradually prohibit owners of energy-intensive housing from renting their properties, to encourage them to undertake renovation work. Concretely, owners of housing in energy performance class G, the worst, will no longer be able to sign or renew a lease with a tenant from January 1, 2025.

Franceinfo details why the executive wishes, once again, to revise the DPE.

Because its reliability raises questions

“The fact that two professionals can achieve different results (for the same accommodation) poses a difficulty”, noted the Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, on September 25. It’s necessary “avoid it being a source of dispute between the person who finds someone who would explain to them that their accommodation is in F and the person who would explain to them that it is in G.”

The variability of DPE has been demonstrated, among others, by the magazine 60 Million consumers. He suggested that four homeowners have their homes diagnosed by five different professionals. Result: each accommodation received at least two different scores.

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The DPE is “a false tool, based on a bad calculation method”judge Christophe Demerson, publication director of the review 25 Million owners. He says he presented alternative calculation methods to the various ministers in charge of the file. But nothing convincing enough, according to the government. “Since the overhaul of the DPE in 2021, it is a robust tool with a reliable and proven calculation method”, wrote in April the Ministry of Housing, then headed by Olivier Klein. He put forward a method “based solely on the physical characteristics of the dwelling and using input data that must be justified”.

Precisely, the data is sometimes insufficient to produce a reliable diagnosis, underlines Jean-Christophe Protais, president of the Interprofessional Union of Real Estate Diagnostics (Sidiane). Judging that owners or diagnostic prescribers tend to largely minimize this aspect, he wishes them “involve” with the establishment of a “completeness index”.

“With an index of completeness of information, the owner is made responsible. On his DPE, if he sees an index of 30% appear, the purchaser can tell him that the diagnosis is not reliable and that he must do it again another.”

Jean-Christophe Protais, president of the Interprofessional Union of Real Estate Diagnostics

at franceinfo

This information concerns the year of construction, type of insulation, type of equipment, windows, etc. “This data is important, otherwise, the machine calculates by default, and it tends to pull the score down, because it is cautious”, comments Jean-Christophe Protais. For example, if a property is between label D and E, and information is missing, it will put an E instead.

Because it is not relevant for all goods

DPE poses a problem for small areas and certain old buildings. According to figures from the National Energy Renovation Observatory (PDF link), “the smallest homes consume the most energy”. According to the data, almost 34% of homes under 30 m2 have an F or G label, compared to only 13% of homes over 100 m2.

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Faced with this observation, two real estate diagnostic federations – the Chamber of Real Estate Diagnosticians (CDI Fnaim) and the Interprofessional Federation of Real Estate Diagnostics (Fidi) – asked the Ministry of Housing to establish a weighted DPE for small areas . The tool as a whole is not called into question, but it must be amended to be more precise. In a press release, they write that “there are possibilities to review certain coefficients without changing the entire method“. It is a question, they argue, of “a subject of fairness and reliability of the DPE which we believe is important to raise so that owners of small areas are not harmed”.

Parliamentarians took up the issue. In July, senators proposed “correct biases against small areas” and to integrate protection against heat into the calculation of the DPE. “We manage to prove that exemptions are necessary,” comment to franceinfo by environmentalist senator Guillaume Gontard. “We accept that some apartments will never be of exceptional quality. But the exemptions currently are complex”adds the elected official, who was the rapporteur for the Senate commission of inquiry into the effectiveness of public policies in the area of ​​energy renovation of housing.

For old buildings, it may be difficult, or even impossible, to carry out the work recommended following the DPE, due to their historical dimension. “Buildings built before 1947 are often difficult to insulate”, summarizes Guillaume Gontard. This is why senators proposed a special DPE for buildings built before this date, in the name of their heritage value.

Because the training of diagnosticians can still be improved

Regularly singled out, the training of diagnosticians has been strengthened. Following a decree published in the Official Journal of August 3, 2023, professionals in the sector will have to comply with a stricter framework from July 1, 2024. “Everyone sees that there are deficiencies. This is why measures have been taken. But it is insufficient”estimates Yannick Ainouche, president of the CDI Fnaim.

“We need to move away from today’s certification system, with small three-month training courses.”

Yannick Ainouche, president of the Chamber of real estate diagnosticians of Fnaim

at franceinfo

“There isn’t even a diploma to become a diagnostician”, protests the professional. He calls for the creation of two state diplomas, one at bac+2, the other at bac+3, as well as the establishment of a “real sector, with a real collective agreement and a real professional branch”.

The objective, according to him, is to have “an increase in the skills of the entire sector” but also to attract young people. The promise of having a diploma recognized by the State can, he hopes, encourage them to embark on this path, which remains “a profession of professional transition, retraining”.

Because the fight against fraud can progress

The new measures which will come into force on July 1, 2024 have notably focused on the training of diagnosticians, but “the fight against fraud represents 50% of what still needs to be achieved”estimates Hassad Mouheb, president of the FedExperts federation.

Some diagnosticians work without certification, without insurance and do not register their DPE with Ademe, recalls the president of the CDI Fnaim. “We must be able to sanction them with possibly a disciplinary committeehe recommends. However, we have no control body.” This is why his federation and others, such as FedExperts, are proposing the creation of a professional card for diagnosticians.

“This professional card would make it possible to certify professional civil liability, the updating of diplomas and certifications, so that the consumer can be sure that the diagnostician is in good standing. It’s the least we can do.”

Yannick Ainouche, president of the CDI Fnaim

at franceinfo

This card would be renewed each year, and withdrawn in the event of deviance or failure, explains Yannick Ainouche. “Today, we ask for a professional card from many professions, such as VTC drivers. Why not from people who carry out the diagnosis of real estate?”he asks himself.

Firmly opposed to this idea, the president of Sidiane proposes a “longitudinal control” diagnosticians. Instead of having a certification body that carries out a “work control”where it is possible to “to create an illusion”, this would involve controlling, over a given period, all DPEs recorded by a professional in the Ademe database and identifying possible anomalies. This is possible thanks to extremely simple algorithms which allow for much more effective monitoring”affirms Jean-Christophe Protais, highlighting the first conclusive tests.

He also wishes “reinforce the neutrality of the diagnostician”, sometimes put under pressure from the owner or the real estate agent during a transaction, “with a DPE carried out regularly”. According to him, a DPE should not be carried out only during a sale or rental. “A property must have a periodic diagnosis, every five or ten years. This allows us to overcome the emergency” and to avoid potential attempts at corruption on the part of the owner or agent. “The responsibility of the diagnostician is increasingly important. Before, with the DPE, we provided information which had no financial impact. But now, it does”comments Yannick Ainouche, who is counting on support from public authorities. “We must be a trusted third party of absolute rectitude.”



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