Sandrine Charrier, Jocelyne Ponthieux and Alexis Huet
Bibliographic info:
The International Journal of Ventilation, Vol. 13 N°2, September 2014

Envelope airtightness is incorporated in the French Energy Performance (EP) Regulation (named “RT”) and is a key factor in the reduction of energy consumption. From 2006 until 2012, the French 2005 Energy Performance Regulation (RT, 2005) did not require justification of envelope airtightness. However, constructors could get certification for airtightness through a quality management (QM) approach, in order to build better-than-regulatory buildings. Since 2012, French 2012 EP regulation (RT 2012) requires building airtightness to be justified for residential buildings, with two ways of justification. One is by the application of a certified quality management approach on envelope airtightness and the second is by direct measurement. In order to evaluate the airtightness quality management approach, the French State has created a specific national committee which aims at authorizing constructors to justify the airtightness of their buildings This paper presents the French airtightness QM approach for building envelope airtightness and analyzes the evolution of the committee processes and statistics, concurrently with the French EP regulation. The first part focuses on an assessment of the committee validation process. It also presents the evolution of the number of requests and certifications since 2006.  Results show, that compared to each previous year (2006-2011), the number of RT 2012 requests in 2012, has increased by a factor of 4. Moreover, the number of RT 2012 certifications was, by September 2013, higher than the whole RT 2005 certifications delivered over 6 years. The second part presents the control processes that are implemented on certified constructors.  First, this presents the self-declared airtightness values that are presented by constructors in their yearly renewal files. Then, it focuses on results of a ‘control’ campaign. Results show that the majority of measured dwellings meet the required airtightness level. Nevertheless, results of the control campaign show that approved constructors do not entirely implement the required quality management approach. The paper concludes with a discussion on further improvements to the process. These must meet the increasing number of requests, without losing quality and reputation. Moreover, control of certified constructors will continue in two ways i.e. yearly renewals and control campaigns, with some evolution to improve efficiency.  There is now also a need to externalize this quality management approach because of the number of requests. In addition QM approaches are now expected on the airtightness of ventilation ducts.