Portraits of players: interview with Christophe Dujardin and Raphaël Claustre, Île-de-France Energies

5 December 2022

Christophe Dujardin and Raphaël Claustre, respectively Chairman of the Executive Board and Managing Director of Ile-de-France Energies, tell us more about the development of their services for condominiums and individual homeowners. They testify the emergence and development of a new profession: supporting individual owners and associations of co-owners with their complex energy retrofit projects.

Established in 2015, Energies Posit’IF, now Ile-de-France Energies, has gradually managed to strike the right balance between the services provided and the expectations of co-owners and managing agents. Since 2020, the activity has moved up to speed.

It took 6 to 7 years to tailor Ile-de-France Energies’ services and to convince public authorities that the incentive schemes developed to encourage people to retrofit their homes should include feedback from the field… Yes, designing and testing the range of services now provided by Ile-de-France Energies was not easy, at a time when national policies supporting energy retrofits in condominiums were also changing very slowly, and likewise modernisation of the legislative framework applicable to them.

Today, the aid framework to support condominiums, implemented by Anah (National Housing Agency), is more suitable as aid is paid directly to the co-owners’ associations and must be used to finance highly efficient energy retrofits only. But at the same time, the aid for low-income households has fallen sharply, and all things considered, their financial effort is now much greater, which can be very damaging for these underprivileged households!

As regards condominiums, the “Habiter Mieux Sérénité” aid for households on low or very low incomes has been abolished. Instead of this aid, which represented 60% of the expenses incurred,  excluding VAT and up to a €12,000 ceiling, for households on the lowest incomes, the MaPrimeRenov’ collective aid now represents 25% of the amount spent, with a ceiling of €3,750 and a bonus of €1,500. This cuts aid for very low-income households in half and represents a one-third reduction for households on modest incomes*.

Ile-de-France Energies has thus adapted its own organisation after much trying and testing. After having started by aggregating groups of service providers and playing the role of facilitator, Ile-de-France Energies then decided to integrate all the skills relating to support and project management into its own team, including project design and delivery, in order to have full control of them.

This has meant positioning itself over the long term. Remember that the entire cycle of a condominium retrofit project lasts from 4 to 6 years!

For Ile-de-France Energies, the year 2020 marked a turning point, thanks to the possibility given to third-party financing companies to grant zero-interest eco-loans. Thus, Ile-de-France Energies is now able to provide both technical and financial services, by virtue of the exception to the banking monopoly on loans conferred on it by its status as a third-party financing company approved by Banque de France.

But this opening is only temporary and only concerns third-party financing companies operating in the Ile-de-France and Hauts-de-France regions. Tenacity and patience are qualities that need nurturing to make the financing sector evolve and make a place for oneself!

However, the project implementation phase has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as co-owners have been prevented from holding a series of general meetings during which renovation work and the use of the collective financing provided by Ile-de-France Energies should have been put to the vote.

But the period has also been very busy in terms of project preparation: Ile-de-France Energies receives 2 to 3 requests per week, which marks a significant acceleration… the transition to project implementation will be intense once the health crisis is over!

Ile-de-France mayors are also important partners and prescribers of Ile-de-France Energies’ services for the renovation of large condominiums to prevent their deterioration and thus the risk of entire neighbourhoods falling into a downward spiral.

Ile-de-France Energies has also found its bearings with social landlords who have to renovate mixed buildings, where some of the flats have been sold to individual owners and which therefore now form a condominium.

For example, 1001 vies Habitat relies on the specific know-how of Ile-de-France Energies to support a number of condominiums in which this social landlord has rental units, thus allowing them to upgrade their own buildings as well as the buildings of which they are just a co-owner.

For Ile-de-France Energies, the ORFEE project comes at the right time to help with the consolidation phase by pooling operational project management tools and to standardise the financial framework applicable to third-party financing companies in order to cope with the influx of work expected from 2021!

 * State aid for home renovations is set according to income ceilings that define two levels of subsidies. See: https://www.economie.gouv.fr/particuliers/prime-renovation-energetique