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USH takes action for Climate Goals and Energy Transition

Social Housing Associations announce their 2016-2020 Act as a result of their 76th Annual Conference

Montpellier, 21 October 2015 | Published in Energy

Within the framework of its 76th annual conference, just a couple of months before France hosts COP21, Union Sociale pour l’ Habitat presented the Act under which its member organisations will intensify their actions to combat, from their side, climate change and energy poverty.

“The building sector that represents a big part of the energy consumption as well as of the gas emissions responsible for global warming represents also a key factor for the success of the energy transition”, stresses USH in its position paper. The energy performance of buildings is a social issue, too, especially regarding the energy bills of households and of the most vulnerable ones in particular. The Social Housing Sector has an important role to play in favour of the energy transition and in the fight against climate change. The efforts of the social housing organisations for decades have achieved an overall energy performance that marks a considerable advance across the French housing stock.

The Agreement 2016-2020 signed during the Conference in Montpellier on September 24th is actually a voluntary engagement of the sector to act. This commitment, vector of progress and innovation in technical, social and urban fields, also help to strengthen the attractiveness of the heritage and social housing neighborhoods. Its key points are the following:

  1. Social Housing Associations commit to the gradual and measurable development that is supposed to be applied broadly by the end of 2018 of:
    • Buildings with low energy needs, and of positive energy when local conditions are met
    • Buildings that will serve as best practices at environmental level, particularly in terms of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the life cycle
  2. The launch, along with Caisse des Dépôts of a call for projects "For an architecture of transformation" that will allow the emergence of concrete innovative proposals that can be easily reproduced.
  3. Social Housing Associations Commit to the energy refurbishment of 100.000 homes per year
  4. Organisations should mobilize along with local stakeholders within the call “200 regions in positive energy for green growth”
  5. Development of green spaces in the city making use of the potential of the buildings in order to increase urban biodiversity and familiarize residents with the link between consumption and resources.
  6. The involvement of social housing organizations in improving the energy and environmental performance of condominiums shall be strengthened.
  7. The development of support mechanisms that will make residents feel aware and involved.
  8. The launch of a contest / challenge initiated by USH "11 million tenants involved in the energy transition", intended to demonstrate that the active participation of residents can reduce their energy consumption.
  9. The extension of the “jobs of the future” program beyond 2015 through the recruitment of young people while creating new opportunities in energy and environmental transition.
  10. The encouragement of collaborative working to support innovation and experimentation.