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Brittany village saves 25% on energy bills with new eco tools

Authorities installed energy monitors and other systems in public buildings. The mayor has called for more state help for other towns

The village has already saved 25% on energy bills with its range of new, ecological measures Pic: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

A Brittany village is working to reduce energy use by 40% by 2024, and has already saved 25% on bills in the past three years, after installing ‘energy monitors’ and other eco-friendly tools in public buildings.

Authorities in Saint-Sulpice-la-Forêt (Ille-et-Vilaine), near Rennes, installed 60 connected monitors in total. These are designed to help reduce energy costs and usage by showing where and when the most energy is used (and potentially wasted).

The mairie came up with the idea in 2015, at a time when the towns were struggling financially.

The monitors cost €20,000, and were installed with the help of a local start-up, connected to the village network, LoRa. While the impact is “still ongoing”, the effect was almost immediate, with the town having already saved 25% on energy costs within three years, said mayor Yann Huaumé to France 3 Bretagne.

Other measures also helped, with the communes also installing a controllable heating system, timed thermostats, and updated radiators.

Read more: Tips for saving hundreds of euros on annual energy bills in France 

In total, Saint-Sulpice-la-Forêt invested €60,000, with a “view to saving 40% in energy between 2015 and 2024”, said Mr Huaumé.

This winter, the system will go beyond the existing buildings (including a school) and is set to be tested at a leisure centre.

Mr Huaumé explained: “We're going to move from three prefabs, which are real thermal wrecks, to a positive energy and low-carbon building.” 

He said that the investment to do this would be "a mere pittance” of just €1,500 per year, with aid from the environmental and energy management agency Ademe (Agence de la Transition Écologique), local authorities, and the state.

This, said Mr Huaumé, is a necessary investment. He said: “There needs to be real political will on the part of local authorities and the state [to help with the energy transition].

“Resources have been stagnating or decreasing for years,” he said. "The impact of the cost of energy is such that, whether it is a small or a large municipality, it becomes a form of technical and financial incapacity.”

Saint-Sulpice-la-Forêt currently has the ‘Smart City’ label, and is an example of a ‘sustainable city’, as part of the France 2030 Metropolitan Village project.

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