Anyone selling a home in France now has to have it tested for energy efficiency.
The so-called diagnostic de performance énergétique (DPE) which has to be carried out on the property, came into force on the 1st November 2006. The results are then provided to the purchaser when the compromis de vente – the preliminary purchase contract – is signed.
During the test, which has been introduced into France as a result of the 1997 Kyoto accord on climate change, the home is examined for its size, insulation and heating. This data is then fed into software that grades the home according to its efficiency.
The grades range from A to G, with A being the most energy efficient, meaning the home requires under 50kWh to heat it. Category G means the home needs more than 451 kWh.
The test results also include details on how much carbon dioxide – the main greenhouse gas – is produced by the house. A home in category A for example produces only 6kg per m2 of CO2 a year, while homes graded as G will produce ten times that amount or more.
All homes are covered by the regulation except those that don’t have a heating system or are heated solely by open fires.
The DPE is valid for 10 years and is compulsory for all house sales. All in all, it provides information about the house’s efficiency, including insulation and other factors which affect utility costs. The report also has recommendations for energy saving work to be carried out on the property before the buyer completes the sale.