Oktave is a one-stop-shop that offers a full service including tailored support from independent energy efficiency advisers on all technical, financial and administrative aspects of a renovation project with local operations branches and a regional support service. This OSS was developed by the Grand-Est French Region and the ADEME in 2015.
The Alsace Region’s “Energy-Climate-Air” Plan sets targets for 2020 and 2050. The achievement of these objectives and the reduction of social impacts related to the rising costs of energy are linked to the mass renovation of the existing Alsatian housing stock. A rate of energy renovation of approximately 19,000 homes/year by 2050, including 10,000 single-family homes/year is needed.
Several Shareholders are involved in the Development of this service: The Grand-Est Region, the Grand-Est SACICAP, The Bank of Territories and the “Caisse d’Epargne” Grand-Est Europe. Funding is also provided by the EIB. This financial support from the EU allowed for the development of a viable financing scheme for the local collectivities and the development of mutliple construction sites. Oktave can offer a third-party financing facility in partnership with the Grand Est SACICAP (socially beneficial cooperative companies for home ownership) and banks. The main benefit for home owners lies on the fact that Oktave has an independent status from any brand or practice. A fund has also been set up to provide bridge funding for aid for home owners who cannot pay upfront the substantial costs of renovations.
Oktave offers households a turnkey energy renovation facility to BBC level with a main point of contact through the duration of the project. The service includes support facility, technical, financial and administrative advice tailored to the household as well as project management assistance through the course of the renovation. Oktave includes personalized post-works care for two years after completion of the renovation to ensure proper handover to the owner of the renovated housing.
Oktave’s service for energy efficient house renovations is structured at two levels:
- Local branches (at the level of the current regional platforms) where Oktave advisers serve as points of contact with households.
- At the Regional level: the support facility and service which help the Oktave advisers in terms of compiling the finance applications.
The Financial model
Oktave acts a financing facility. What is original about Oktave’s service is that it puts home owners in relation with partner banks to facilitate financing of all or part of the renovation work. The loans can take the form of short-term loans, used as bridge funding for financial aid, or long-term loans. The financial package includes:
- establishing a finance plan for renovations
- identifying available financial aid
- evaluating the remaining cost to be paid by the project owner.
The Oktave service is billed as a package of services paid in three installments. In any event, the customer will pay all or part of the service through the value of their Energy Saving Certificates (ESC) generated by the works carried out.
Network and Operational Capacity
The Oktave adviser determines the level of motivation of prospective customers to decide on whether or not they wish to go ahead with the service at the pre-contract step. They will then visit the prospective customer at their home to discuss the project further.
During the survey phase, the homeowner is put in contact with the appropriate tradespeople who will visit the property and propose a renovation programme befitting the project. The Oktave adviser will collate the offers and prepare the finance plan taking into account the customer’s financing needs and financial position.
To run this project, the Alsace Region and ADEME hired three internal full-time equivalent staff members to help with the establishment of the company’s financial and legal structure, the services offered by professionals and the definition of the marketing strategy and communications. The SPC will operate in subsidiarity and in coordination with the regions. It shall not seek to replace the services provided by the energy information centres (mainly EIE and National Housing Agency operators) but will take over from them by offering support when a home owner decides to use Oktave’s services. Oktave will be in charge of putting in place an information system for coordinating the different actors and work being carried out as well as tracking the unique file of each individual home owner through every aspect of their renovation project.
Key success factors
This project has achieved energy efficiency renovations in 1,000 single-family houses so far, reducing fuel consumption and gas emissions. The energy savings amount to approximately 15 GWh. The results in energy savings are estimated to 1,300 €/year. The practice has developed a network of professionals in the building sector improving their skills and market visibility, around 200 jobs have been maintained or created. Besides, it has achieved commitments from financial institutions to finance the energy efficiency plan.
The growth projections for the Alsace Region are taking into account the number of projects published by the energy renovation platforms and the technical capacities of the services offered by referenced tradespeople. Currently Oktave has 35 groups of Tradespeople plus 20 architects. In order to achieve an objective of 1500 renovations per year by year 6, this should require about 90 groups of tradespeople. These projections are the same when scaling up to the entire Grand Est Region. As part of Oktave, the Region and ADEME set up in Alsace an action learning programme (DORéMI) with building tradespeople and companies which is based on face-to-face learning, technical platforms and, most importantly, real-life learning sites. To date, the action learning programme has resulted in the formation of 35 groups comprising a total 230 tradespeople.
This facility is rounded off by architects and contractors, who have also been trained on using Oktave’s learning toolkit and have experience in energy efficient renovation. In partnership with Alsace’s Regional Council of the Order of Architects, the Alsace Architects Union and the Association of Thermal Renovation Architects in Alsace, Oktave has set up a trial run of working with architects. The goal is to identify architechts capable of demonstrating an expertise to perform energy efficient renovations of individual homes. In the end, this should allow for the development of procedures for referencing and working with architects through Oktave. Oktave will then be able to offer home owners a technical solution befitting their project.