The 2011/03/31 at 08:35
Concrete support for the implement-ation of energy strategies in housing or businesses. This is how the mission of the Économie d’Énergie (literally, “energy saving”) web site, economiedenergie.fr, launched in 2008 in partnership with Primagaz may be summed up. “Evolutions in the energy domain have become complex. And yet this topic is of prime importance and concerns each of us. Following discussions with our partners, collaborators and clients, it seemed crucial to us to publicise the issues and opportunities in energy, in such a way that such information can be useful to all. This was the motivation that led to the birth of the structure Économie d’Énergie,” explains Myriam Maestroni, Managing Director of Prima-gaz, the group behind the creation of this online service.
The recent years have been characterised by a brutal and planetary awareness of the relation of each individual to the environment. Emissions of gases with greenhouse effects and carbon imprints are now notions integrated into the daily lives of all. “Five years ago still, these topics were the privileged domains of a few experts and engineers,” recalls the Managing Director. The optimisation of energy consumption no longer depends on the choice of an energy provider, but implies the intervention of a multitude of actors. “This is why the aim of Économie d’Énergie is to bring a broad range of information of all types, in order to better steer users in such investments,” she continues. “In the 1990s, it was said that the 20th century was the century of petrol and the 21st century that of gas. Today, the taking of decisions on energy solutions goes far beyond the choice between these two resources. It is no longer rare to combine several sources, to integrate other criteria such as choice of insulation, ventilation, or partial production of one’s own electricity.”
Answers for elaborating an energy strategy
To provide an effective sustainable solution, energy implementation should take into account numerous parameters. The law makes it compulsory to take into account new criteria. “But how is this to be done? What should be my priorities? Are my energy technician’s tips sufficiently objective? It is to answer these questions that the platform was designed,” adds Myriam Maestroni. “With such a web site, the general public will soon be much more familiar with the possibilities open to it, real water and energy needs, ways to create one’s own energy, and different levers of action that can directly or indirectly have consequences on one’s end bill.” Information posted online is all the more relevant as it issues from companies and organisms specialised in this domain. The platform constitutes a self-regulating system, where partners check that information provided by one another is of the best possible quality, thus guaranteeing objectivity for clients. In just a few clicks, a consumer can, for example, become enlightened on the choice of renewable energy most adapted to his or her situation and objectives.
The Managing Director explains that three categories of renewable energies are visible: “those whose vocation is to be used with other energy resources, such as geothermic and thermal solar energy; energies that can be substituted for natural gas, such as biomass and wood; and finally, those that produce electricity, such as photovoltaic, wind or hydraulic technologies. Recourse to one of these solutions depends on the client’s wishes.” To enable consumers to set their choices, Économie d’Énergie offers a true consultancy service. It indicates the possible levers of intervention, taking into account a number of key parameters, such as the housing’s climatic zone, the number of occupants and their habits, the quality of the construction (the type of ventilation, insulation…), and the type of heating. Thanks to a fun and interactive system, the platform gathers the user’s data before offering an elaborate tailor-made diagnostic adapted to the latter’s situation. Unlike other diagnostics that constitute a fixed document, this model has the advantage of allowing simulations to be made. Depending on specific investments, changes in installations or modifications of consumer habits, it is easy to note the possible benefits and estimate the relevance of various scenarios. The client is also informed on the order of operations to be carried out if several investments are envisaged.
“We offer very clear orientation for envisaged choices,” sums up Myriam Maestroni. Once works to implement have been precisely determined, the platform also offers support for the financing of operations. Tax grants and the conditions for loan grants are detailed according to the client’s profile. Finally, in the interests of supplementing its informative mission, the web site provides an overview of the rich and dense French and overseas news in this domain. Cybernauts can easily consult legal frameworks in place, access the latest regul-atory evolutions and follow the big international developments… As well as providing excellent upstream energy diagnostics prior to construction or renovation works in main or secondary residences, the web site is also interesting for businesses. “We are solicited by companies from all sectors of activity which, in the context of programmes such as 1% Logement or their works councils, wish to provide information to their employees in this domain. They are often interested in training and supplementary information,” specifies the Managing Director. There is also a web site called Économie d’Énergie Transport (economiedenergie-transport.fr) which brings the same types of responses to mobility issues (use of fuels, car pooling solutions, types of vehicles…).
An evolving partnership
Économie d’Énergie is above all a collective work, bringing together numerous actors. The CAPEB (French Confederation of Artisan Workers and Small Companies in Construction) representing all artisans in the stream, the monitoring organism Qualigaz, as well as the bank Solfea specialising in zero-percent-rate loans are various partners, synonymous of the added value of this initiative. “This system of partnership is naturally led to evolve. Professionals from all horizons attached to this chain of services enable the web site’s content to be constantly improved. We find energy technicians and installers as well as financing or maintenance companies,” adds Myriam Maestroni. All actors directly or indirectly linked to solutions for energy efficiency may find a place in this club. It is also in the interests of organisations to join such a partnership. This is a true showcase, a vehicle of growth potential for participants. The diversity of businesses represented is also beneficial for platform users, for the more partners there are, the greater the guarantee of objective information. “It should also be noted that we are currently working on making the web site international, which of course means adaptation to the regulatory contexts and energy issues of each country,” comments the Managing Director.