The verandas and the french Environmental Regulation RE 2020

When we talk about global warming and its causes: it is often the transport means of all types that are blamed for their environmental impact, alongside with heavy industry and even intensive agriculture. However, it is indeed the construction sector that is the biggest contributor to global warming in Europe. This sad record is caused in particular by the emission of a phenomenal quantity of greenhouse gases, both during the initial construction and during the life of the building, for example to ensure its heating and air-conditioning.
Aware of this problem, the public authorities decided to establish some regulations, both for the renovation of older buildings, which consume a lot of energy, and for new buildings. In particular, the latter are subject to constantly evolving thermal regulations, in order to limit the consumption of buildings and thus reduce energy bills for tenants.

RT 2012 and RE 2020: what are they?

RT 2012 and RE 2020, as their names suggest, refer to the former 2012 Thermal Regulations and the new 2020 Environmental Regulations, respectively. Since 1974, successive thermal regulations have imposed better insulation and ever lower energy consumption for new buildings. Their main purpose is to regulate new buildings for environmental reasons. However, they also have an impact on the health of buildings, by guaranteeing a certain level of comfort for users.

Regulations for conservatories and home extensions

All new buildings must meet the energy and environmental performance levels set out in the RE 2020 Environmental Regulations. Heated* conservatories and extensions of more than 50m² are subject to the same rules.

NB: * Verandas that are closed off from the house and not linked to the heating system (winter garden, summer lounge, entrance hatch, etc.) are not subject to any thermal regulations.

Photo de panneaux solaires sur le toit d'un bâtiment

RE 2020, a new standard for energy efficiency in buildings

The RE 2020 is being phased in from 2022 and since January 2023 it also applies to home extensions and new generation conservatories.

In addition to limiting the consumption of buildings, the ER 2020 aims to make them energy producers. To this end, new buildings can be equipped with energy-efficient equipment, such as solar panels, wind turbines, bioclimatic verandas, heat pumps, etc. The objective of the BR 2020 is therefore that the buildings of the next decade should not only be capable of ensuring their own energy consumption, but that they should one day be able to provide a surplus of energy to be injected into the local network. These are known as Positive Energy Buildings (PEBs).

How the veranda fits into a Positive Energy Building (PEB) approach

Photo d'une véranda moderne s'incrivant dans la règlementation

The modern veranda fits perfectly into the BEPOS

The continuous improvement of the Thermal Regulations is made possible by multiple technical and design advances, which explain the increasingly high level of requirements.

  • Creation of more insulating materials.
  • Improvements in heating and lighting (intelligent thermostats, LED, presence detection lighting, etc.).
  • Designing buildings to exploit the environment to produce and store energy (roof top wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, solar heat storage materials, etc.).

In such a framework, the veranda is no longer seen as a covered extension of the garden, too cold in winter and hot in summer. Instead, it should be seen as a tool for bioclimatic regulation of the house, inserted directly into the heart of the thermal regulation problems of the house.

Discover the aluminium conservatory systems of Installux


The importance of good design

Modern, high-performance custom-made conservatories, especially those made of aluminium, are true extensions of the house. For homes designed specifically with bioclimatic considerations in mind, they are even a central element of the home.

If it is well designed by a specialist such as Installux’s aluminium carpenter partners, the veranda is able to store the sun’s heat and release it into the rest of the house during the cooler hours, using the right materials and ventilation.

Beyond the choice of materials, it is the customised design that allows the veranda or extension to contribute to the positive energy approach of the house. The orientation of the veranda in relation to the sun, the correct arrangement of the sliding glass surfaces or integrated blinds, or the layout as close as possible to the existing masonry, are all elements that ensure good regulation of the heat, coolness and ventilation of the house according to the local climate and the season.

What regulations apply to a veranda project?

The application of the ER 2020 depends on many factors:

  • The size of the existing house and its date of construction;
  • The size of the veranda to be built;
  • The use that will be made of this extension (presence of heating or air conditioning, bioclimatic approach, etc.);
  • The location (municipality, proximity of historic buildings, etc.), in order to comply with local regulations.

Depending on these different criteria, the artisan manufacturer will be able to design a project that suits the client’s wishes, while integrating as well as possible with the environment and the regulatory context.

In the case of a home extension or heated veranda, two certificates are required to complete your project. One is required when the planning application is submitted and the other when the work is completed.

1 – RE2020 certificate to be attached to the planning permission before starting work

In this document the client, or the project manager when the latter is in charge of a design mission, attests that the 2020 environmental regulations have been taken into account in the design of the project.

How to produce the RE2020 certificate to be attached to the planning permission?

The principle of digital generation of the certificate put in place for RT 2012 is maintained for the RE 2020. The production of this certificate is based on the standardised summary of the energy and environmental study in a computerised version that the software approved for the regulatory calculation will be able to generate. The client or the project manager, if applicable, uses the computer tool made available by the Ministry of Construction.

2 – RE2020 certificate to be issued on completion of the work

This certificate must be produced by a qualified professional with the declaration of completion of work (DAACT). This professional can be an architect, a control office and, for individual houses, an approved energy performance diagnostician.
It is completed using the results of the regulatory calculation, supporting documents provided by the client and an on-site visit (various visual checks are carried out).
Attached to the declaration of completion and compliance of the work, the professional certifies that all the indicators relating to the results requirements of the RE 2020 have been met:

  1. Bbio – Bioclimatic requirement of the building
  2. Cep nr – Non-renewable primary energy consumption
  3. Cep – Primary energy consumption
  4. Summer comfort – The improvement of the building to enable people to better cope with heat waves and heat waves
  5. IC Energy – Climate change impact associated with primary energy consumption
  6. IC Construction – Climate change impact associated with building components including the construction site

The professional issuing the certificate also checks compliance with certain so-called elemental or means requirements on the thermal characteristics of the building. A consistency check of 10 environmental data used in the building’s life cycle analysis (LCA) is also included in this certificate.

For residential extensions or heated verandas ≤ 50m2, the decree of 22 December 2022 on the energy and environmental performance requirements for temporary or small-scale constructions is applicable. The requirements are lighter than in the RE2020. The main requirement for heated conservatories, which has evolved since the previous regulation (RT2012), is as follows:

The thermal transmittance of heated conservatories, calculated in accordance with part 3.2.16 of Annex IV of the Order of 4 August, is less than :

  • 2.1 W/(m².K) from 1 January 2023
  • 1.8 W/(m².K) from 1 January 2025

How do I produce the necessary certificate of completion?

As before, the principle of digital generation is maintained for the BR 2020.
The production of this certificate is based on the standardised summary of the energy and environmental study in a computerised version that the software approved for the regulatory calculation will be able to generate. The project owner must then use an IT tool made available on the website published by the Ministry of Construction.

What are the risks if the regulations are not respected?

Failure to comply with the requirements of ER 2020 can result in extremely strict penalties: refusal of planning permission before the work is carried out, but also fines (up to 45,000 euros) and the obligation to bring the building into compliance once it is completed.
It is therefore essential for anyone building a house to be aware of the current requirements, to respect them and to use the services of professionals who will assist them throughout their project.