Have the French suddenly become more virtuous?
All opinion polls show that the French, and especially the younger generations, have fears about the future of our world, especially on ecological issues. Indeed, according to a survey by LCI, eco-anxiety is gaining 74% of French people, 85% of them fear the appearance of phenomena related to climate change in their region within 5 years. We should therefore be able to rejoice at the announcements of RTE on the 8.5% decrease in our energy consumption, which the state has widely promoted.
However, can we consider that this decrease is attributable to a collective awareness of the issues and to profound changes in our uses? It is obvious that the impact of regulations that have become stricter in France with the tertiary decree is forcing a certain number of economic actors to take measures in favor of more virtuous practices. However, on a population scale, it is difficult to attribute these results to profound changes in our consumption patterns. The main reason for this decrease is directly linked to the energy crisis and the unprecedented increase in supply prices forcing many individuals and professionals to change their uses, creating operating risks for many small and medium-sized businesses. Government incentives have had little effect, even if public policies aimed at containing the effects of the increase can be seen as a valuable aid.
In France, the new construction standards for several years now have largely contributed to making our buildings less energy consuming. But what about existing buildings, which represent the majority of the stock? The evolution of awareness is a reality but it is slow and the means of action to fight against our energy drifts are still underdeveloped.
Changing our habits will therefore require education and the impact of each individual in this necessarily collective effort.
Beyond this generalized awareness, we are convinced that the modification of our uses must go through a reinforcement of innovation and technologies allowing better consumption. There is a lot of room for improvement and the implementation of more virtuous management rules is an obligation if we want to sustainably transform our approach to the challenge of the century.
The implementation of technologies and services that allow buildings to be less energy intensive is one of the keys. Some of the answers are already to be found in the ecosystem of innovative companies that are working every day to transform mindsets and habits, in particular through the implementation of tools that are often inexpensive and non-intrusive.
As the song says, “for the young people of the year 2000, it’s not the same deal anymore” and the state will have to participate in this democratization and participate even more in the promotion of existing solutions that have proven their worth in order to reach our sobriety objectives.
Territorial Communities: a complex building fleet facing the soaring energy prices
This winter, many communities have had to make decisions to deal with rising electricity prices: closing swimming pools and museums, reducing Christmas decorations, lowering temperatures in schools, etc. And most communities have had to renegotiate their energy contracts, becoming aware of the rise and volatility of energy prices, seeing their energy budgets increase four or fivefold.
“It’s a shame to see that this awareness of energy issues is the result of a budgetary rather than an environmental problem, but it’s no less important that this awareness has taken place,” says Alric Marc, founder of Eficia, a Frenchtech expert in energy management for tertiary buildings and local authorities recently referenced by the UGAP.
He continues: “These past few weeks have made us realize that local authorities don’t know what they really consume, or where their consumption comes from. A swimming pool does not consume like a town hall, nor like a school, etc. In a community, no building is running at all. In a community, no building functions like another, which makes energy management and control particularly complex. It is now essential that they take stock of how they consume energy and monitor their consumption on a daily basis.
Alric Marc deplores the fact that the actions taken until now to reduce their energy budget and participate in the national effort have been “short-term solutions, even very short-term.
The objective now is to make these gains last, to make them accepted and above all to do them in a more intelligent way. Because closing a pool cannot be a long-term solution. On the other hand, we can make energy savings in the medium term by investing in switching public lighting to LED bulbs, replacing old oil-fired heating systems with heat pumps, etc. These are just examples, but I think that 2023 will be a year of strong investment by local authorities in energy solutions, whether for heating, lighting or regulation and intelligent energy management systems. And in the longer term, local authorities must implement a real energy management policy to achieve the 40% reduction in GHG emissions set by Europe. For a municipality, this also means making energy savings in its building and vehicle fleets. Internal teams will have to take charge of the energy issue.
To go further, solutions are already available to reduce their energy bill and impact, and new jobs dedicated to energy could also soon be created within communities.
Energy crisis and extended business support: between good news and long-term risk
The amount of aid and the ceilings it can reach (raised to 4, 50 and 150 million euros) vary according to the company’s situation.
The companies concerned are large energy consumers that have experienced an increase in the cost of supplying natural gas, electricity, heat or cold produced from natural gas or electricity between March 2022 and December 2023 and whose activity is particularly affected. In concrete terms, their energy expenses must be equivalent to at least 3% of their turnover in 2021, and their bill must have risen by more than 50% compared to that year.
Why is help with soaring prices important for companies?
Businesses are paying for the surge in energy prices between July and October 2022, the period during which professionals were renegotiating their annual contracts with their suppliers. From January onwards, businesses will have to face heavy increases in their bills and in this context, the aid granted to businesses is essential and its extension until December 2023 is good news.
Electricity prices on the spot market are much lower than those we experienced at the end of 2022, while paradoxically, companies find themselves at the beginning of the year with a much higher bill that does not reflect the current price of energy. This situation penalizes the companies by increasing considerably their operating expenses and posing for some a risk of deficit and worse for some.
A situation that can be avoided.
Without the aid and the progressive rebalancing of our production capacities, many industries would have closed or relocated to avoid the galloping inflation of energy prices in France. The measures announced by the state are therefore decisive in the management of this crisis and to ensure the maintenance of many activities on our territory.
Is this aid sufficient and fair?
Nevertheless, it is possible that the conditions for obtaining this aid will exclude a large number of companies which, due to the threshold effect, risk losing a lot of money. The question of company size creates a sometimes unfair system for benefiting from a regulated tariff, which makes it possible to allocate aid unfairly, even though the energy needs and expenses are the same.
Shouldn’t these subsidies eventually disappear?
The fact that the aids are not automatic and that there are steps to follow and conditions of attribution remains realistic because it is fundamental that everyone becomes aware of the cost of energy. As we have seen, when we make an effort and companies and individuals work together, it is possible to generate energy savings. According to RTE, our collective efforts have paid off in the last months of 2022 (about 9% savings in a few weeks) and this, without making investments, only by changing our uses. What is regrettable is that once again we had to react to the financial risk and not to the common good and environmental issues.
Nevertheless the permanent aids are a risk that could create bad habits. Energy has a cost but above all an impact on the environment and it is on this level that we must change our habits. We have to get used to having to pay higher energy prices and, in the end, the subsidies will have to give way to investments turned towards less polluting uses and quickly less subsidize CO2 emitting energies which have an economic blow and an ecological impact which is no longer acceptable.
Santa, you too can save energy!
Santa Claus makes all year long and delivers on December 25th all the Christmas toys to all the children in the world. That’s a lot of money for one person who manages thousands of buildings and elves! How much do you think he spends on energy bills and what can he do to reduce his impact on the environment?
Since the transportation of these toys to the children is done by magical reindeer, we will only count the manufacturing of the toys, not the transportation.
✅ The toy market in the world represents about $105 billion (according to Statista) of which 40% are dedicated to Christmas toys (according to Toy Market) – $42 billion.
✅ Let’s assume that the price of energy in the manufacture of a toy represents 5%: Santa’s annual energy bill is therefore $2.1 billion.
✅ Since the toy manufacturing process takes place in buildings around the world with lighting, heating, air conditioning and ventilation, it would be possible without any problem to control them and generate 20% energy savings… about $420 M in savings per year!
And reduce your carbon impact
✅ Santa’s energy bill being 2.1 billion dollars per year and 1 MWh = 150 dollars: Santa would therefore consume 14TWh of energy to make all the Christmas toys.
✅ And 1 MWh = about 200 kg of CO2 on average, so Santa’s toy making would weigh in at 2.8M tons of CO2!
✅ And, by controlling its buildings, EFICIA could have made it reduce its environmental impact by 20% by reducing its energy consumption.
🎁 That is the equivalent of a city of about 56,000 inhabitants (1 average French person emits about 10 tons of CO2/year)
To Santa and all the elves who make toys for children all year round: we can help you generate energy savings without disrupting your business.
EFICIA is now referenced in the UGAP multi-publisher catalog!
EFICIA is now referenced via SCC by the UGAP and its building energy management solution is available in the UGAP multi-publisher catalog.
This referencing is a new step in EFICIA’s development strategy and its ambitions to continue its expansion and increase its network of partners.
What is UGAP?
UGAP is a public industrial and commercial establishment (EPIC) placed under the supervision of two ministries (Economy and National Education). UGAP is a French public purchasing center and is the main organization to perform this function.
Because of its status as a central purchasing agency and because it operates on a purchase-for-resale basis, UGAP allows its contract holders to address the entire public procurement market through the signature of a single contract and to benefit from a reduction in their administrative, commercial and financial costs.
Why go through UGAP for a public contract
Going through the central purchasing office allows you to benefit from certain advantages:
Simplification of public procurement: UGAP takes care of the execution of orders and the relationship with suppliers, thus reducing the costs of procedures, deployment and management.
Legal security: the regulations relating to public procurement are respected
An immediate purchase: the public purchaser is exempt from advertising and competitive bidding procedures, regardless of the amount of the purchase
Contracts are notified
The central purchasing office provides a tool for making estimates and orders, and for tracking them online
Why is EFICIA referenced with UGAP?
The listing in the UGAP directory is above all a mark of confidence, and above all makes energy management services accessible to local authorities.
The UGAP allows actors like EFICIA to access the entire public order via a portal and through the signing of a single contract and to benefit from a reduction in their administrative, commercial and financial costs.
The energy efficiency plan for your buildings in 3 steps
How can companies mobilize for energy sobriety and efficiency with simple and immediate actions?
EFICIA has been working with professionals for many years on these issues and now offers you – while building your own longer term investments plan – a special anti-waste checklist for commercial buildings for this at risk upcoming winter.
Actions that your technical team can implement
- Limit heating to 19° or 18° (and even 17° Ecowatt).
- Control your heating according to the weather, activity schedules and the thermal inertia of the building. Example: early start and stop in the morning and stop at 5:00 p.m., on working/openning days only.
- Condition the air renewal according to the air quality only and stop it during the closing hours.
- Change the lighting that is not yet LED.
- Install presence sensors to control lighting in the lobby/reception, break and passage areas.
- Limit lighting between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. in particular (which are the peak hours of the day) and until nightfall.
- Turn off interior lighting in buildings when they are closed and reduce exterior lighting on buildings, especially for advertising.
- Automatically turn off lights 3 hours after sunrise in naturally lit rooms.
- Install power strips with switches for all workstations and plug in devices that remain on standby (screens, chargers, individual ECLs, wifi relays, etc.).
- Turn off the wifi when the offices are closed.
- Limit the amount of equipment and avoid oversizing it (number of screens, size of these screens, power of the computer equipment compared to the need…)
Recommendations to make to your employees
- Turn off your computer and phone at night.
- Turn off the power supply of your workstation every evening when you leave.
- Clean up your mailbox every month.
- Reduce or turn off non-essential audio-visual systems, such as projectors or screens in reception areas or cafeterias during peak hours (8am-1pm & 5pm-8pm).
- Favour soft mobility or public transport.
- Do not charge your electric vehicle during peak hours (between 8:00 am and 1:00 pm and between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm) and use off-peak hours (between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am or on weekends).
- Limit the use of the elevator when possible.
- Dress warmly in winter.
- Close doors to prevent heat loss or heat gain.
Guidelines your management can follow
- Gather employees who work in open spaces to free up areas that should not be heated or lit on slow days.
- Organize an energy saving contest between the different offices of the company.
- Raise employee awareness of energy efficiency issues through regular educational messages.
- Organize work to facilitate employee commuting outside of peak traffic hours whenever possible.
- Sourcing suppliers and partners locally in order to reduce the number of kilometers traveled by products, among other things.
- Give preference to reconditioned equipment (computers, telephones, etc.).
- Raise employee awareness of eco-driving and offer courses and training.
- Pooling and limiting meal deliveries by opening a Canteen 2.0.
The UN awards EFICIA the triple gold label for the third consecutive year as part of the “Climate Neutral Now” program
Because supporting companies in their energy transition required us to be a model for others…
EFICIA, a young innovative French company specialized in energy management for tertiary buildings, has been awarded for the third consecutive year the triple gold label of the United Nations as part of its Climate Neutrality Now program. This award alone symbolizes EFICIA’s commitment to building a changing world where each company must become an actor of change in the face of the climate challenge.
Launched in 2015, the Climate Neutral Now initiative aims to “ encourage all citizens to take action to help achieve the goal of a climate-neutral world by mid-century, in line with the Paris Agreement.” Unlike the various CSR labels that exist on the French market, the UN label is dedicated to carbon. It involves three actions on the part of companies applying for it: quantify their carbon emissions, reduce them by 5% per year and offset them. To help companies in this last area, the UN has set up a system for financing offset projects.
On a daily basis, EFICIA assists its clients in the energy performance of their buildings. Quantifying the impact and carbon gains of the companies that place their trust in us is therefore an integral part of our approach.
“Working to save energy for our customers should not generate more carbon impact on our end. The companies in our ecosystem must be examples and this has always been an essential element in our approach. So I built an internal tool to calculate the carbon impact of each of our purchases, even of a simple pen.” explains Alric Marc, founder and president of EFICIA. “Our first observation was that we allow our clients to reduce their emissions 30 times more than we emit, and it was obvious to us to do everything possible to reduce our own impact. For example, we have helped finance the creation of hydroelectric power plants in Chile and India, countries that still produce the majority of their electricity from coal.
Today, for the third year in a row, EFICIA has received the highest score on each of the three axes of the Climate Neutrality Now initiative.
EFICIA democratizes the energy market by launching the “App by EFICIA”, a 100% free energy monitoring application
With this launch, EFICIA shows its ambition to act positively on the energy transition by making available free of charge to the greatest number of people, fast and efficient analysis and decision support tools.
After having obtained, for the third consecutive year, the prestigious “Climate Neutral Now” label from the UN, symbolizing its commitment to building a changing world, EFICIA is going further in the face of this century’s challenge. The expert company is once again making its contribution to the market by launching a brand new, free and easy-to-use online tool, the App, aimed at democratizing access to and analysis of energy data, a decision-making tool for anyone, whether an individual or a company, who wants to reduce their energy consumption.
“Accompanying large networks in their energy transition, by achieving significant and sustainable energy savings, remains our driving force. Obtaining the UN label was a step, but it was only the beginning,” explains Alric Marc, founder and president of EFICIA. “We had the ambition to accomplish a strong act; the COVID-19 and the publication of the tertiary decree were the triggers. We wanted to offer a simple, fast and, above all, totally free tool to all those who do not necessarily have the means to do so. Our objective is above all to democratize access to energy data and to support all those who wish to reduce their energy consumption.
The application, called the App, has been online since September 5 on EFICIA’s website.
Simple and quick to use, the App only needs a meter number to present a complete inventory of consumption. Whatever the typology of the site (point of sale, industrial, offices, individual housing…) it is thus possible to :
- have a global view of its consumption thanks to a history of several years,
- be alerted in case of overconsumption,
- follow performance indicators,
- define consumption thresholds,
- analyze the evolution of energy performance,
- compare sites of the same type with each other.
With the current crisis, the energy market is experiencing an unprecedented situation, with electricity prices soaring throughout Europe in recent months, forcing companies and individuals to react to find solutions. However, if the government calls for energy sobriety, how can we reduce our consumption when we don’t really know how energy is consumed, nor which performances can be improved?
EFICIA’s approach thus provides the beginnings of a response to the crisis, by helping organizations cushion the effects of price increases and meet regulatory obligations while acting for the environment.
Leroy Merlin entrusts the energy management of its buildings to EFICIA
As part of the renovation plan for its network of buildings and its We Make It Positive approach, Leroy Merlin has set itself an ambitious challenge to optimize the overall performance of its real estate and limit its environmental impact.
EFICIA, an innovative French Tech expert in building energy management, has been chosen by Leroy Merlin, the famous French DIY chain, to optimize energy consumption at all of its 143 sites in France.
When the project was launched in 2020, several market players were consulted. Leroy Merlin’s challenge was to reduce its energy consumption, improve the overall performance of its network through better optimization of thermal comfort and support the technical management of its buildings.
In this context and after a pilot phase in situ that lasted more than a year, the company chose EFICIA for the global and 100% integrated nature of its solution and for the capacity of its teams to optimize in real time the operation of HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and lighting equipment in sales outlets.
“To do our job well, while limiting our impact on the planet, we are tracking down all possible avenues for optimization. The environmental footprint of our stores is of course at the heart of our action. As part of a continuous improvement process, we are working to make them more energy-efficient and ever more comfortable for our customers, without compromising safety.
This is what is at stake in our collaboration with EFICIA. Their teams have mastered the entire service chain we need, and we will be able to deploy the solutions we have tested over the past few months across our entire fleet,” explains Arnaud Berchon, Technical Director at Leroy Merlin France.
“We are very proud to accompany Leroy Merlin in such an exciting and strategic project for the company. We are working with their teams on a continuous basis with the objective of supporting the renovation plan and reaching the obligations of the tertiary decree as soon as possible” says Alric Marc, Founder of EFICIA.
Since the beginning of the project in 2021, about fifty buildings have been equipped to date, with visible results on energy consumption thanks to the 24/7 work of EFICIA’s energy specialists. An energy performance contract has also been put in place, consolidating the partnership between EFICIA and Leroy Merlin for 5 years.
20% of point of sale energy consumption is avoidable
Every day, the news highlights the importance of energy in the daily lives of the French. Whether individuals or companies, everyone has a role to play in reducing their energy consumption.
In this environmental and economic context, and a few days before World Environment Day, the experts at Eficia, a global and innovative French Tech that supports companies wishing to reduce their ecological impact, note that :
On average, retail outlets could save 20% of their energy consumption.
Alric Marc, founder and president of Eficia, comments on this figure: “For a 5,000m² point of sale that consumes an average of 500 Mwh per year, this represents an annual saving of about 100 Mwh per year, or €15,000 (at current rates).”
According to him, “these 20% potential savings could be obtained in particular by:
- Ensuring that equipment does not consume energy unnecessarily during periods of unoccupancy
- Optimizing the operation of equipment during periods of occupancy (time scenario, temperature set point, etc.)
- By using the building’s inertia permanently
- By programming the scenarios according to the weather forecast.”
It is essential today to analyze in detail the typical energy consumption of an average retail outlet and to implement best practices that can be easily deployed today for a more virtuous and less expensive consumption.