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VISUCONSO: checking energy consumption to consume less

Summary : VISUCONSO is an educational device that enables the inhabitants of the Andre Malraux residence in Ecully to monitor and better control their electricity consumption, thanks to a secure internet portal and personalised support. Created by EDF and GrandLyon HABITAT in consultation with tenants, this innovative experiment, combined with thermal renovation work and actions that raise awareness of good energy use, enables the reduction of energy bills through advanced monitoring of heating and electricity consumption.

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Programme

  • Start date : 2014
  • Implementation site : Ecully
  • Budget : 1250000 €
  • Source and details on funding : Rhône-Alpes - EDF- TFPB exemption (property tax on buildings) - Loan - GrandLyon HABITAT own funds

Organisation(s)

  • GRANDLYON HABITAT
  • Le Terra Mundi 2 place de Francfort
  • 69444 Lyon cedex 03
  • Employees : 600
  • Volunteers : N/A
Website

Localisation

Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  06/08/2015
Opinion of the Committee : Innovative !
Solution(s) : Fuel poverty
Country :  France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Stature of the programme :  Local
Participant :  Public institution
  • Beneficiaries :  Urban population
  • Domain :  Urbanism, Housing, Energy

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Energy Poverty »

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : CLEMENT Delphine , « VISUCONSO: checking energy consumption to consume less », **Journal RESOLIS** (2015)

Background to the programme

The André Malraux residence, made up of 14 three bedroom and 14 four bedroom detached houses with garages and private gardens, is a beautiful estate. But the heating methods, electrical convectors in the "toaster" style dating from 1984, had become obsolete and expensive. In addition, traces of mould were appearing because of the poor condition of the joinery, the ventilation system and the insulation between the garage and the house. Tenants had installed fireplaces without authorisation. A renovation project has therefore been launched by GrandLyon HABITAT.

Objectives of the programme

• Improve the energy consumption of the detached houses: move them from label F (425 kWh/m2/year) before the work to label C (140 kWh/m2/year).

• Reduce the electricity bill from 135 Euros per month over 12 months before the work for a moderately heated four bedroom house (quite low level of comfort) to 45 Euros per month over 12 months after the work.

• Raise the residents awareness of energy saving by enabling them to adapt their behaviour to better control their energy budget.

• Standardise and make the equipment in the homes safe.

• Improve the houses' aesthetic and thus sustain the housing stock

Implemented actions

A collective collaboration has been set up in partnership with the Social Work Manager in order to take into account the needs and expectations of tenants:

• Organisation of public meetings

• Home visits made to each of the tenants before, during and after the building work.

• Opening of an educational home to exhibit all the work carried out. A celebration was organised for its inauguration.

• Distribution of leaflets with eco-gesture advice for each new construction carried out.

The VISUCONSO device has been made freely available to volunteer tenants. Thanks to the free website, they can track their consumption in kWh and Euros and be sent alerts according to their usage. They can compare their consumption with the average of other houses, which creates peer pressure. The temperature to observe is 21°C in the living room and 19°C in the bedrooms. Access to VISUCONSO is provided free for 3 years: one year during the work and through two years of follow-up. Residents also benefit from personalised support via:

- A report sent by EDF twice a year

- Visit of a model home and an info space to provide information to tenants at the launch of the measures in April 2014

- A dedicated hotline to obtain more information on the experiment and support for the use of the website made available

- The "energy economy" kit offered by EDF and GrandLyon Habitat

- Local events like "The Feast of enlightened neighbours" in May 2015 to allow tenants to talk about and share their experience and adopt eco-friendly behaviour.

The management of the renovation work was checked by an architect and design office for fluids and structures. Each house has had an assessment. An innovative and efficient mode of heating has been installed: a heat pump (PAC) powered by electricity, which distributes heat through plenums (false ceilings). Each room was equipped with heating vents and a programmable thermostat. The joinery and the front door have been changed, as well as the double glazing.

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

Each tenant has received a certificate on which the energy performance to achieve is recorded.
By June 2014, the objective of 45 Euros/month was still not attained. But we must allow time for the device to settle in and eliminate any potential problems.

In May 2015: the Visu Conso experiment showed nearly 20% energy savings in one year for most of the participants *.

Next review in December 2015: the objective should be achieved.

The tenants are satisfied with the comfort recorded though some of them were really defiant. All have noticed a decrease in their bill.

VISUCONSO has contributed greatly to the observed changes in tenants' lifestyle.

* Average decrease observed on an annual bill of €1500 in 2013 with renovation work carried out at the end of 2013, for a household that used electric heating.

Original characteristics

The tenant becomes the manager of their energy consumption through the VISUCONSO device and a revolutionary heating model for individual inhabitants. They control the temperature room by room.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

• EDF SMART Electric Lyon for the communication part and the setting up of the internet portal

• EDELIA (subsidiary of EDF): specialist in data analysis through a box installed in the houses. EDELIA analyses the consumption and malfunctions, powers the internet portal and provides assessments.

Feedback

Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

Initially some tenants were very resistant, especially those who had implemented improvements on their own initiative. They took some convincing of the merits of a new mode of heating.

We also had to explain the principle of the 3rd line of the receipt: After work, the receipt for the rent given to the tenants will include a separate third line, entitled "tenant's contribution to sharing the saving costs". This is obligatory when it comes to energy efficiency improvements in housing. This contribution was established by the law on mobility and the fight against exclusion (MOLLE law) of 25th March 2009, and is applicable by Decree No. 2009-1438 of 23rd November 2009 for social housing. The amount and the duration of the "tenant's contribution to sharing saving costs" are clearly indicated on the receipt in a specific * 3rd line. The duration of this contribution is a maximum of 15 years, the amount cannot exceed 50% of the savings costs made.

* Reminder: on the receipt the first line indicates the amount of the base rent and the second line shows the amount of the charges.

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

• Produce good information

• To support residents before, during and after the renovation project. Significant educational work was required to make them accept the work and show that the tenant would win in terms of comfort and their bill.

• VISUCONSO is a tool that proves to them that the reduction figures announced can be achieved.

• Normally the contribution of tenants sharing the cost of the savings is 50% of the savings realised. GrandLyon HABITAT reached a ceiling of 40% in this project.

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

Quality of the evaluation from the design office on the work to be carried out which guides the choice of insulation work to undertake and those to avoid.

Importance of educational support for the tenants but also for the landlord who must understand the arguments and technology to be convinced.

Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :

A sociological study will be conducted by EDF with 28 households on the positions and practices related to energy before and after the work, how tenants live with the work. The profiles of the tenants will be defined.

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