With the constant evolution of the French EP-regulations, good building airtightness has become mandatory to reach required energy performance. More than 60,000 airtightness tests are performed each year since 2015. Each measurement performed by a qualified tester must be recorded in a national database that is therefore growing fast (more than half million in 2020).
Following RT2012, the new EP-regulation RE2020 came into force on January 1, 2022. It has strengthen the requirements for the air permeability of residential buildings. Moreover, this new regulation goes beyond the energy performance of buildings by requiring the commissioning of ventilation systems to ensure that new dwellings are ventilated right. The inspection schemes for ventilation systems is similar to the building airtightness one (tester qualification scheme, national database), additionally an on-line observatory will be created.
After a brief introduction regarding the French regulatory context for building air permeability and ventilation, this paper gives an overview of the building airtightness database followed by a detailed presentation of the results including: 1) impact of buildings’ characteristics on building airtightness level; 2) the evolution of the air permeability (French indicator Q4Pa-Surf, and n50) in new and renovated buildings depending on the building use; 3) the frequency of detected leakages and their impact on the air leakage rate.
In new single-houses, the mean air permeability is 0.38 m3/(h.m²) at 4 Pa which is significantly below the mandatory threshold value (0.6 m3/(h.m²)) and 94% of all houses meet the mandatory requirement. In new multifamily buildings, the mean air permeability is 0.63 m3/(h.m²) at 4 Pa which is significantly below the mandatory threshold value (1.0 m3/(h.m²)) and 98% of all buildings meet the mandatory requirement. In new non-residential buildings, for which there is no mandatory test, the airtightness has improved over the years and is now equivalent to the new multi-family buildings level. In renovated buildings (no mandatory test), more measurements are needed to improve the knowledge regarding the changes in airtightness before and after renovation. The analyses of detected leakages enable us to identify the most critical leakages that are not always the most frequent ones.