A zero-interest rate loan for housing renovation

green-houseFor my 500th post on this blog, I would like to bring you good news. The decision taken last week within the Grenelle de l’Environnement is a huge leap forward towards sustainability of housing.

Indeed, the French government will launch in April an eco loan of up to 30,000 €  ($37,600) with no interest rate to increase the use of thermal renewable energy sources and of energy conservation.

The energy and environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo expects heavy renovations to go above 400,000 per year, to be compared to the current 40,000.

As I stated in my Master’s Thesis published in 2006, such a target has to be reached if we want to insulate before 2050 the 20 million “thermal colanders” that need renovation in the country.

Mr. Borloo goes further in stating that each construction built prior to 1990 has to be renovated. This represents 27 million housings, including 15 individual houses.

As the French daily Le Figaro noted:

People willing to benefit from these loans have to choose two or three options among the following:

  • Insulation of the roof ;
  • Insulation of the walls ;
  • Replacement of doors and windows ;
  • Installation of a more efficient heating system ;
  • Installation of a water heating or housing heating system with renewables.

By choosing two, one can benefit from an eco loan of 20,000 € ($25,000). Choosing three, one can get 30,000€.

To me, the most interesting way would be to choose insulation of the roofs and walls (more than half of the heat losses in housing) and installing a housing system with renewables.

Such a move would indeed enable households heating themselves with oil or natural gas to cut by a factor four or even much more their carbon dioxide emissions.

To Mr. Borloo, such a scheme would allow households to cut by 70 to 80 percent their heating bills.

This represents to me a huge step forward as buildings represent the first energy consumer in France.

Rumored to be a first in Europe, I hope such an initiative will quickly be emulated in many countries as home insulation gets the attention it deserves.

Banks will play a major role in this as they will be legally forced to propose such loans. With all the money they are given nowadays I guess this is the best way they can pay back the Society as a whole.

Households will have from ten to fifteen years to payback these loans. this shouldn’t be much a problem as the savings will be of importance.

And you, what do you think about this ? To me this is the best idea brought by the Grenelle, the second best being the system of feebates for efficient cars.


Edouard is a sustainability and energy professional committed to bringing our societies to a carbon neutral future. He has been writing on related topics on this very blog since 2007.

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3 Responses

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    […] support of this trend, the local government enacted a zero-interest rate loan for housing renovation to enable people to weatherize and install heating systems based on renewable energy sources. This […]

  2. Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    […] the successes one can note the feebate system used to promote energy efficient cars and a zero-interest rate loan for housing […]

  3. Friday, March 18, 2016

    […] credit as well as energy efficiency certificates. Other aids are available such as local ones and a zero-interest rate loan (see […]

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