Improving the Energy Efficiency of the French Residential Sector: The Role of the Middlemen

Published on 22 February 2023

By Esther Raineau-Rispal

Increasing prices and the growing scarcity of resources call for an urgent reduction of energy use. The residential sector has become a major policy target in that regard, as it accounts for a non-negligible part of final consumption. Part of this consumption has been attributed to the « energy efficiency gap », meaning the difference between the energy consumption that could be achieved if every building were made with state-of-the-art materials and the actual energy consumption. Ambitious reduction targets have been set in developed countries, relying on a mix of awareness, regulatory and financial instruments. This paper exploits the originality of the French context to explore the efficiency of these policies, for which there are very few \textit{ex post} reviews. More specifically, the caveats this paper aims to address are (1) the role of construction contractors as middlemen between policymakers and households while (2) controlling for factors affecting energy consumption, especially spatial ones. A comprehensive dataset was built at the neighborhood level by compiling information from various sources. Results are estimated through spatial panel regressions and suggest areas of improvement for French financial aid schemes.

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