Global warming and the risks of a shortage of fossil fuels are two of the important issues that modern societies as well as the whole planet must face in the course of the 21st century. In addition to the efforts required with regard to private energy consumption, transport and techniques of industrial production, one sector that still has a considerable potential for improving its ability to conserve energy is housing.
As three professionals working in this sector (for the Centre for Science and Technology in Building) explain in this article, many techniques already exist and further progress could also be made both to improve overall energy savings and to increase the capacities for housing units to produce their own energy from renewable sources.
Various technical solutions have been proposed by specialists in energy conservation, such as using specialized equipment (solar panels, double glazing, better insulation, etc.) and the development of "positive energy buildings". These show that the potential of the housing sector has been relatively neglected as a source of energy savings, especially in France (Germany and Switzerland are much further ahead in this area). The authors therefore make some proposals for ways of encouraging the public authorities to create incentives for people to choose an "intelligent" approach to energy saving in their homes.