Can you tell us about yourself? What was your background? Why energy retrofit?
At first, I had an engineering background, rather generalist, but I became interested in energy & climate issues very early on. I started working at Carbone 4, a consulting firm specializing in these issues, where I began to dig into the building sector, then inevitably that of energy renovation. It is important to point out that buildings represent nearly half of our energy consumption, or more than a quarter of our national emissions: the site is daunting!
I then joined the office of the Minister of Housing to work on public policies related to energy renovation and new construction. It was in this context that I met Ariane, whom I finally joined to create La Solive, the school of energy renovation, and allow all those who wish to convert to these jobs of the future!
We hear more and more about energy renovation, why is it exploding at the moment?
That's pretty impressive by the way! For 2-3 years, energy renovation has been on the rise: everyone has their opinion on the issue, the media talk about it daily, politicians are not left out and all these beautiful people are sounding. I think there are several factors that can explain why energy renovation is exploding.
First a political will, with more and more money on the table, regulations & incentives that are increasingly strong (ban on rentals for thermal colanders, obligation to audit when put on sale colanders, success of MaPrimeRénov', etc.) with the resulting unprecedented visibility. Indeed, the subject affects everyone.
I also think that confinement made many people realize that their accommodation was not very comfortable (too hot, too cold or too expensive) and that it really bothered them on a daily basis. If we add to that the increase in energy prices...
What are the big challenges for the energy retrofit sector in the coming years?
The main challenge for the sector is training.
The training of craftsmen and companies as a first step, in order to improve the quality of energy renovations. Regulations are increasingly pushing global and ambitious renovations, which make it possible to achieve greater energy savings. This requires learning to work with other artisans, keeping up to date with new techniques, and therefore training!
And then there is the subject of recruitment, and the number of people in the sector… To reach our objectives in terms of the number of energy renovations, it is estimated that we must train 600,000 additional people by 2050! Whether through initial training or professional retraining, it will be necessary to train battalions of highly motivated people given the scale of the work and the shortage of qualified profiles that we are already experiencing today...
It's true that today finding a heating engineer can take 18 months...
And yes, and it will not improve if we do not accelerate the pace with new entrants because many retirements are expected in the coming years. Unfortunately, this concerns the whole profession, and it is not only heating engineers who are missing...
What professions already exist and which ones will emerge?
Those that do exist and are in very high tension are the trades of skilled craftsmen: heating engineers, especially specialized in heat pumps and wood stoves, and insulation experts, mainly in thermal insulation by outside.
Those that emerge are versatile profiles capable of supporting individuals in their work project, in their technical, administrative or financial procedures and in monitoring the site.
What are the exit salaries?
With increasingly rare profiles and increasing demand, salaries are being pushed up. If we put aside the self-employed, a specialized and salaried heating engineer can easily start at €2,500 gross, and a project manager at €3,000. Obviously, it will depend on the profile and the company… but it can be much more!
Where can these trades be practiced?
Everywhere in France ! This is one of the great advantages of energy renovation, wherever there is housing, there are needs.
Is this a sector that interests you?