Does France offer grants to install reversible air conditioning?

We look at what options are available to home-owners in France

Reversible air conditioning units can be used to both cool homes in the summer and heat them in the winter
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Reader question: We want to install a pompe à chaleur air-air at our French property. Can we get any financial help from the government to do this?

Thanks to schemes intended to help homeowners improve the eco-friendliness of their property, there are a number of benefits you can receive if you want to install reversible air conditioning (climatisation réversible) in your home.

Reversible air conditioners are translated as pompe à chaleur air-air in French. They are usually installed as wall-mounted units inside your home. They combine the benefits of air conditioning, absorbing heat in the home and sending it outside, to cool homes in the summer, with an opposite process, allowing the property to be warmed in the winter.

They generally cost between €2,000 - €5,000, depending on the make and model.

It should be noted, however, that different aids are available if you want to install an air/water or geothermal heat pump, which are covered briefly at the end of the article.

TheMaPrimeRénov’ Sérénité scheme

The first thing to point out is that air conditioning units are not covered by the general MaPrimeRénov’ scheme which offers homeowners financial assistance to make energy-efficient improvements to their properties.

However, it is covered by a similar programme, the MaPrimeRénov Sérénité, which provides percentage-based grants instead of fixed amounts, and covers work on older houses (as well as being available for rented properties) aimed at improving their overall energy efficiency.

This scheme offers grants of up to 50% for works costing €15,000 (so a maximum of €7,500) for certain works.

In the case of less expensive renovations grants are lower, to a maximum 35% of the cost up to €10,500.

The MaPrimeRénov Sérénité grant can be claimed during the installation of reversible air conditioning, provided you fulfil the following criteria:

  • You are the owner-occupier or tenant of a principal residence
  • Your home was built more than 15 years ago
  • Your renovations will result in energy savings of at least 35%
  • Your reversible air conditioning system has a performance coefficient of at least 3.2
  • Your work is carried out by an RGE (Reconnu Garant de l'Environnement) certified craftsman
  • You meet required income ceilings

The performance coefficient mentioned above is simply how energy efficient the product is – if it has an energy rating of A or above (A+, A++, etc) it will fall into this category.

The income thresholds can be found on the service public website here by clicking on votre barême, and you can also run a simulation to see if your desired work would be eligible for a grant by clicking on votre aide précise.

Other grants available

It is also possible to apply for the Certificats d’économies d’énergie (CEE) bonus, which could pay up to around €1,000 towards the installation of a unit. This funding is offered by energy companies which are required by the state to help people make their homes more energy efficient.

Rules are stricter, however, with air conditioning units either needing a coefficient score of 3.9, or using less than 12 kilowatts of power to be eligible.

When applying for a CEE bonus to install reversible air conditioning, the amount can change depending on where your house is located (France is divided into three ‘thermic zones’) and your income level.

To qualify for these one-off payments – paid after the work is completed – the renovations must be carried out by an RGE-certified professional.

The CEE can be paid for renovations to both a main and second home and you can find out more from energy companies, certified professionals or advisors at the France Rénov’ network.

Financial assistance for installing reversible air conditioning also comes in the form of a 10% VAT reduction on expenses related to purchasing and installation, as long as the home is more than two years old and work is carried out by an RGE-certified tradesperson.

You can also use a chèque énergie voucher to pay for part of the unit’s installation if you have received one of these.

Read more: How can I use my French chèque énergie gas or electricity vouchers?

Aids for other air conditioning units

If you want to install an air/water or geothermal pompe à chaleur system, different aids are available.

Notably it is possible to benefit from the MaPrimeRénov’ scheme when installing one of these pumps, which you cannot apply for when installing the reversible air conditioning units above.

You can read more about the installation of these pumps in an earlier reader question answered here.

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