In France, buildings account for 45% of our primary energy consumption, or a quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions. Yet only 2% of these emissions are due to the construction of new buildings*.
The sector's contribution to emissions is therefore extremely significant, and if we are to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 (the objective of the Stratégie Nationale Bas Carbone), the energy renovation of buildings is a priority.
But to achieve this, we need to train a massive number of specialists in the field: engineers, craftsmen, technicians... To the tune of 300,000 people by 2030, and double that number by 2050.
New building construction: a false solution for reducing our emissions
The environmental impact of buildings is a two-part problem:
- New buildings. Today, new construction standards mean that new buildings are very energy-efficient (class A or B in the Diagnostic de Performance Energétique). But renewal is slow: every year, around 1% of the building stock is renovated.
- The existing stock. The vast majority of work must therefore be carried out on what is already built. In particular, the millions of houses and buildings built after the Second World War. Many of the 5 to 10 million energy wastes in France date from this period, when the priority was not to consume less, but to rebuild quickly, and when energy costs were relatively low.
Problem: renovation is often more complex than construction. Each house or building is different, and most of the time there is rarely a "standard" solution to apply: hence the need to call on well-trained specialists!
There are many differences between a sieve building rebuilt in the city center after the Second World War and an old farmhouse in the countryside (surface, concrete or stone, roof shape, wall thickness, etc.).
But the approach is the same:
- Insulate and waterproof the dwelling: keep the heat out and the cold in.
- Study and improve the ventilation system, so that the air is renewed and the occupants can breathe without causing pathologies.
- Heat residual needs, for example with a heat pump, which can cut electricity consumption by a factor of 3 if the home is well insulated.
The workforce needed to transform the sector
The workforce needed for energy renovation is divided into 3 categories: those who prescribe the work, those who carry it out and those who coordinate it. Each has its own role to play on a renovation project, and is involved at a specific stage.
- The energy auditor goes into a house to study it methodically: walls, roof, windows, floors, heating and ventilation systems... He examines everything and delivers a technical report recommending solutions to be implemented to improve the home's energy performance. It's a technical and stimulating job, with a good balance between the field and the office, and one in which many engineers seeking a meaningful career are in the process of retraining. La Solive offers intensive training courses leading to this profession.
- The sales representative specialized in energy renovation recommends and sells suitable work, equipment and services, often coordinating those involved in the project. This job is open to anyone with a good "commercial sense", an interest in housing, and a desire to sell something useful to the ecological transition, while generally earning a fairly good living.The trades of plasterer, façade builder, roofer, heating engineer, electrician and all other tradespeople involved in renovation work are under great pressure today, both in terms of the number of people involved, and their level of training in the very specific skills required for energy renovation. If you're interested in these trades, a number of organizations such as MakeIci offer CAPs for retraining.
One last figure to bear in mind: at present, 75% of the work financed by state aid doesn't even result in moving up an energy class*. So there's a twofold problem with the workforce: the number of professionals in the sector, and the level of training of those currently carrying out the work. If you're interested in these professions, you can choose how you'd like to contribute to this major project!
** source: ADEME