With a view to meeting the consumption reduction targets set by the tertiary sector decree, the BACS (Building Automation & Control Systems) decree has been enriched by a major amendment. While it initially required new or existing buildings with a rated output of more than 290 kW to be equipped with a system for controlling and regulating the temperature of heating and cooling equipment by 2025, it now applies to all buildings with an output of more than 70 kW, i.e. almost all commercial buildings. While this extension, with a deadline of January 1, 2027, demonstrates a definite step forward by the State in terms of energy consumption, and offers undeniable advantages for businesses, it is nonetheless a new obligation without penalties that may not have the desired effect.
A gas pedal of the global energy transition.
No, this evolution of the BACS decree is not an addendum detailing a few new administrative formalities to be followed, but a complementary brick in the continuation of the national policy which aims to achieve 40% energy savings by 2030, thereby reducing France’s and Europe’s dependence on gas. With 43% of France’s annual energy consumption and 23% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, France has decided to step up a gear with industry players, with a view to achieving a benchmark level of energy performance in the construction and renovation of buildings.
The enhanced BACS decree, which complements the tertiary sector decree, is far more far-reaching than the tertiary sector decree, since it can ultimately affect 90% of all commercial buildings, thanks in particular to a return on investment of just a few months rather than the 6 years required by law, which makes the clause on exempted cases virtually non-existent. It is also a powerful incentive, enabling companies to make immediate and easy energy savings of 15-20% with little investment, thanks to subsidies. It also represents an opportunity for them to accelerate their trajectory towards carbon neutrality and prepare for future restrictions. There’s no doubt that the law will encourage more widespread and systematic efforts to reduce energy consumption.
Real advantages, but are they enough?
With the cost of energy set to remain high in view of the current crisis, which heralds the end of free energy, and an alignment with the rest of Europe, companies have every interest in complying with their obligations to remain competitive thanks to the savings they make. This competitive advantage is reinforced by a system of additional bonuses decided by the State to ensure that the most polluting activities can implement the systems recommended by means of energy saving certificates.
This mechanism enables them to obtain a return on investment that is calculated in months rather than years! At the same time, companies can prepare for the future and gradually make their buildings intelligent: first and foremost energy-efficient, they will be upgraded to be more connected, durable, comfortable and efficient, even supplying the national power grid. By seizing the opportunity to rethink their infrastructures now, they will be 80% of the way to tomorrow.
And yet, despite the many advantages, the latest version of the BACS decree remains an obligation that carries no penalty if not followed. There is therefore a potential risk that it will be just another straw in the wind, for want of sufficient consideration.
The amendment to the BACS decree confirms France’s maturity in energy issues, its role as a laboratory and its dominant position. The Hexagone is tending to become a leader in the field, thanks in particular to the major players in the building industry and electrical equipment manufacturers in its fold. However, although this legal obligation adds a new stone to its edifice, it reveals incompleteness and a long way to go, as we are still only at the educational stage.