OF THE BUILT
Considering the entire life cycle of sustainable buildings by optimising their performance in terms of energy, the environment and comfort.
Enhancing energy and environmental performance
The building sector accounts for about one third of final energy consumption worldwide. Its carbon footprint is also extremely significant if indirect emissions are included in the calculation. To reduce such consumption, many countries have introduced thermal and carbon standards and regulations while asking players to look at buildings over their entire life cycle. Various quality labels aimed at supporting sustainable approaches have also been created and now serve as national and international benchmarks. While the construction of new buildings is now relatively well regulated, the renovation of existing buildings – which are by far the majority – is a real challenge on which efforts are now being concentrated.
We have been active players for more than 30 years in this large-scale movement to improve the energy and environmental performance of buildings. We have developed ecodesign methods enabling us to be involved right from the initial discussion and audit phases, and then to draw up and manage the appropriate renovation programmes. Our technical expertise covers all new-build and renovation requirements (thermal and carbon analyses, envelopes and insulation, heating and cooling systems, ventilation, etc.). We take part in rehabilitation operations that are both varied and ambitious, guaranteeing tangible results in the framework of energy performance contracts.
We also assist many players in achieving compliance with sustainable building regulations and quality certifications. We help some of them to draw up their specifications, as is the case in France with the association responsible for the ‘BBCA’ (low-carbon building) quality label.
Ensuring the well-being and health of users
Most human beings now spend the majority of their time inside a building, whether it be an office, their home, a hotel or other places for living, working, or leisure. The well-being and health of users as they interact with these different indoor spaces have thus become increasingly important issues in contemporary thinking about sustainable buildings, in addition to other improvement targets relating to their functionality, energy consumption and carbon footprint.
We are working on these questions with various players (architects, developers, builders, material and equipment manufacturers, etc.). Regardless of the type of building concerned, our ecodesign approach incorporates many parameters aimed at enhancing the physical and mental well-being of its occupants, such as the use of natural light, indoor climate control, acoustic quality, greening, the development of co-working and socialising areas and the use of ecologically and biologically virtuous materials, paint and coverings.
Looking at buildings over their entire life cycle
In aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, the sector’s players have called a number of their habits into question. Indeed, achieving this goal involves taking into account much more carefully the consumption and costs associated with each stage of a building’s life cycle. At the design stage, the mobilisation of materials and equipment is decisively important but relatively brief. During the operating stage, energy and maintenance-related consumption can be very high over time. And finally, at the end-of-cycle stage, solutions for transitioning to a new form of usage (rehabilitation, conversion) should be preferred over demolition, which is intrinsically resource-heavy.
We have fully adopted this comprehensive life-cycle approach, which we consider to be essential in moving towards genuinely sustainable construction practices. We endeavour to reckon in terms of life-cycle cost in order to find the best compromise between initial investment and running costs. We are developing cutting-edge BIM (Building Information Modelling) resources to link up the design, construction and operational stages. In particular, we have implemented a number of innovative projects involving digital twins of buildings.
We have also invested heavily in the last stage of the life cycle. Each year, we supervise many major renovation projects for all types of buildings. In partnership with various players, we are also looking at how buildings can be made reversible and at ways to design them with a view to facilitating their conversion (from offices to housing or hotels, for instance). We are also deeply involved in developing processes and channels for reusing materials and equipment.
REGENERATION OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT
Contributing actively to the deployment of sustainable buildings and construction.