Extra help for green renovations at French home

Financial help to carry out energy-saving renovation work has been improved.

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Some aid is restricted to low-income households but other schemes are open to all.

Among those open to all are the coup de pouce économies d’énergie (energy-saving booster) schemes, where amounts have been increased.

These include a grant for replacing an oil-fired, coal or gas boiler with a system using renewable energy (coup de pouce chauffage) or a grant to insulate your loft, roof and floor (coup de pouce isolation).

The amounts available depend on the size of your family and the level of your last revenu fiscal de référence (net taxable income, shown on your avis d’imposition income tax sheet).

For example, amounts for buying a high-performance biomass boiler are up to €4,000 for lower-income households and €2,500 for higher earners.

To come under the lower-income category, a couple would need to earn no more than €26,923 (€35,510 in Ile-de-France). See here for more on kinds of work and amounts of grant: tinyurl.com/ycpt9s6k.

These grants are obtained via energy companies, which are required to undertake work to improve energy efficiency.

They are given as part of an agreement to have work done by an RGE-accredited tradesperson who has signed a quality charter on eco-friendly work.

You can find offers at this link: tinyurl.com/y9o4x2z8.

In some cases, a combination of the coup de pouce and other schemes results in lower-income homes being able to have work done for as little as €1. The grant money is paid to the firms, so you do not need to advance it.

Beware firms selling such schemes with cold-calling. It is wrong if you are told you are obliged to have the work done.

You can obtain information on renovation help at faire.fr (tel: 0808 800 700).

The interest-free eco-loan (éco-prêt à taux zéro) is also being simplified from March 1.

People who own or rent their main home can now benefit from this loan of up to €30,000 without having to agree to have several jobs done.

To obtain it, you fill out a devis estimate form with an RGE-accredited firm which you take to a bank, along with a copy of the firm’s RGE certificate. You have three years in which to have the work done.

Finally, the chèque énergie – up to €277 paid to lower-income households to help pay for gas, electricity or fuel – is now worth on average €50 more and is being paid to more people (5.6million households, up from 3.6million).

You do not have to do anything to benefit: it will be paid to you based on your income declarations, if you are eligible.

Beware of offers asking you to provide your details to claim it as they are likely to be scams.

The CITE income tax credit, which offers money off tax – and/or a cheque from the tax office if you do not pay enough tax to fully benefit – continues in 2019 with minor differences.

These changes include 50% off labour for installing an oil tank and 15% off when replacing windows.