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French renovation grant to target old gas boiler replacement

From January 1 MaPrimeRénov’ scheme will also focus on cooling homes and increase grant limits to €70,000 for low-income households

The support to replace fossil fuel boilers with air-to-water or geothermal heat pumps is being doubled from €1,000 to €2,000 Pic: Virrage Images /Shutterstock

Large-scale home renovations, fossil fuel boiler replacements and ‘summer comfort’ will be the new focus of the government’s MaPrimeRénov’ grant scheme from January 1, with new limits on the amount households can claim.

Aimed at low- and middle-income households

The scheme aims to accelerate the nationwide replacement of polluting gas and fuel boilers. 

According to energy data centre Ceren, almost 14 million French homes were heated by fossil fuels in 2021. 

The support to replace them with air-to-water or geothermal heat pumps, or connection to a district heating network, is being doubled from €1,000 to €2,000, depending on income.

It is aimed at both low and middle-income households. 

Read more: What has led to France’s u-turn over gas boiler ban?

Grants of up to €70,000

MaPrimeRénov’ will also target properties rated F or G for energy performance, known as passoires thermiques (energy sieves). 

For people living in such properties on very low incomes, grants of up to €70,000 – double the previous limit – will be available if the building’s energy rating improves by four classes. 

For example, this means if a G-rated home rises to C. 

This funding is limited to 90% of the total cost, with the shortfall potentially covered by a zero-rate loan.

Applicants must aim for at least a two-class improvement in its energy rating, including two insulation projects and one ventilation project.

Measures to reduce fraud

Homeowners will be given technical, administrative and financial assistance under Mon Accompagnateur Rénov’, a trusted third party accredited by French national housing agency Anah. 

The latter will also oversee all grant funding to reduce the fraud that has plagued the renovation sector. 

However, Elisabeth Chesnais, of consumer watchdog UFC-Que Choisir, criticised the “missed opportunity” to have Anah also scrutinise the effectiveness of any renovation work.

She said that this would have boosted homeowners’ confidence. 

Read more: Tips to avoid energy renovation scams in France after warning issued

Cooling homes in summer is a focus

MaPrimeRénov’ also aims to make homes more comfortable during summer. 

It will support the installation of fans, solar protection for windows and doors, and reversible air-to-air heat pumps.

To pay for the extra work, the MaPrimeRénov’ budget will be increased to €5billion. 

The government hopes to support 200,000 major renovations by next year, compared to around 90,000 currently.  

The housing sector accounts for 48 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (a measurement of greenhouse gas emissions), or 64% of all building emissions and 11% of France’s total.

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