Legal studies produced in the framework of the project STEPPING PLUS

In the framework of the STEPPING PLUS project, AURA-EE and the AREC Occitanie have launched two complementary legal studies to further explore the pooling of actions to widespread the renovation of local authorities’ public buildings.

AURA-EE has first launched its legal study based on three approaches:

•    The potential pooling holder: EPCI (public inter-municipality cooperation establishments), Energy unions, semi-public companies, local public company (SPL)
•    Project phases: preliminary phase, project phase and financial plan
•    Actions: assistance, building owner support, grouping order and mandate

Several results came out of the study that confirm the interest of pooling projects especially for small municipalities and the multiple legal possibilities to do it through a local technical, administrative and financial ‘project aggregator.

1.    Legal legitimacy for intervention
The current regulatory framework allows EPCIs, as well as energy unions to take charge, on behalf of their members, of all or part of the works to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

2.    The assistance and building owner support missions
To facilitate the purchase for municipalities, and improve the quality of projects, using external resources of building owner support or an engineering team is possible through grouping order.

3.    Acting through a mandate or a delegated project management
As of assistance, EPCIs, energy unions and SPL could be mandated by their members in the framework of an in-house provision. With such a mandate, they can then act directly as representative of the building owner.

4.    Financial pooling
EPCIs with a climate and energy plan as well as energy unions could pool Energy savings certificates (CEE) for their members by returning all or part to municipalities and/or provide fundings coming from their own funds.
Additionally, they can make financial pooling by pooling bank loans for municipalities in compliance with the conditions of the banking monopoly.   

5.    The implementation of Energy performance contracts (EPC)
EPC, regardless of the pooling arrangement, is particularly well suited to the mandate allowing the agent to pool expertise. Integration of private financing through PPP could be used only for large projects (more than 2M €) due to its administrative complexity.

Additionally, as a Local public company (SPL), the AREC Occitanie has launched a second legal study to explore the possibilities of intervention for such type of organisation to support public authorities in their energy efficiency actions.

The legal study targeted two areas of intervention:

•    1. How a local company could hold an offer regarding EPC?
Following the feedback of experience studied in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, two models have been further explored:

-    One model of building owner mandate to launch renovation building works in an overall high-performance public market (as the SPL OSER in the AURA region).
-    One model of private companies to help the grouping of companies along (such as craftsperson, small and medium size enterprises, very small businesses) to answer to public tenders as the OPERENE does in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.

•    2. How could a local public company provide funding as a repayable advance or a loan for its municipalities’ members?
The current regulatory framework is favourable to this type of third-party financing offer but only in the case of an integrated offer for housing renovation (enabling the implementation of a Public service for the energy performance of housing – SPPEH currently managed by the AREC Occitanie). Therefore, the AREC Occitanie explores the feasibility of experimenting a similar integrated offer for the energy renovation of public buildings.

  • A more detailed document is available online for the study led by AURA-EE.
  • In case of any questions regarding the legal studies you can contact:

AURA-EE: Laurent Chanussot
AREC Occitanie : Alexandre Garcia-Cousteau