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[en] The energy efficiency in buildings is generally the first sector to be targeted in order to achieve a massive reduction in energy consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases. This sector is a priority in French energy and climate policy. An important program to reduce energy consumption in buildings is currently being implemented within the framework of the 'Grenelle Environment' (Environmental Round Table). In a rapidly expanding sector, efforts at a national level have enabled France to offer a high quality and a dynamic range of products and services. To showcase, this brochure presents a summary of French expertise in the field of energy efficiency in buildings: offers from private companies, the public policy framework, measures to support Research and Development, innovation and training etc. This brochure is part of a published collection of themed brochures aimed at presenting French products and services in the Eco-Technologies sector, in particular the renewable energy. (author)
[en] The result of complex interactions between the climate, geology, vegetation, biological activity, time and land use, soil is a non-renewable resource. Whereas the processes whereby soil is formed and regenerated are extremely slow (taking several thousand years), some human activities can degrade the soil within just a few years or decades. The most serious threats include erosion, reduction in organic matter, contamination by pollutants, soil compaction and sealing, soil biodiversity loss, salinization, flooding and landslides. Whether it stems from diffuse and mobile sources (e.g. atmospheric deposition, farming practices) or from clearly confined sources with highly concentrated pollution (e.g. local or isolated contamination linked to an industrial site, a waste storage depot), soil pollution can have harmful consequences on human health and the environment, in particular as a result of bioaccumulation, gaseous emissions and groundwater contamination. The foundations of French policy on contaminated sites and soils Compared with policies for water management, air pollution and even waste management, policy on managing land pollution is relatively recent in France and Europe, where it has developed since the mid-1980's and early 1990's. It is organised around three main themes: - preventing soil and groundwater pollution, - ensuring a correct balance between contaminated soils and their use, - preserving records of past pollution and the rehabilitation that has been carried out. An effective rehabilitation policy for contaminated sites requires a strong emphasis on research and innovation. A number of inventories have been made on contaminated sites and soils in France since the 1970's. On the one hand, an inventory of polluted sites calling for action by the authorities (BASOL) represents around 4,300 sites. On the other hand, an inventory of former industrial sites or service activities that could have polluted the land will eventually cover some 300,000 sites (BASIAS). In addition to the inventories, concrete action has been taken to rehabilitate contaminated sites where the people responsible for the contamination are unknown or unable to face their duties. ADEME, on behalf of the government, is responsible for making these sites safe to limit the impact of pollution. Before the 'Grenelle Environment' (Environment Round Table), the amount of money devoted to such work was around 10 M euros per annum. After the Round Table the budget was increased to 90 million euros for the period 2009-2013. In addition, as part of a program to regenerate brown-fields, nearly 40 million euros - including funds from the economic recovery plan - are being invested during the period 2009-2011. A growing market for decontamination managing the soil and groundwater pollution is now a major economic challenge. In 2008, it represented in France a turnover of around 626 million euros with a growth rate of almost 10% per annum since 1996. At world level, the sites and soils cleanup business represents an annual market of around 43.4 billion euros. Protecting the soil and groundwater is a worldwide challenge. In 2050, the world population is set to reach 9 billion, which will only add to the already considerable pressure on the land and groundwater. In developing and emerging countries, the need to protect the soil and groundwater will therefore be considerable. The experience and know-how of French experts in the public and private sectors as regards prevention, risk management and soil and groundwater decontamination will be available to meet those needs. This brochure describes the French know-how in the field of soil and groundwater remediation. It provides a picture of the technology that is available from specialist companies as well as the government policies and support for innovation or training adopted in these areas.
[en] Breathing is a vital function for humans. On average, an adult inhales around 15 m3 of air per day. Air pollution represents a major risk to health. Worldwide, it is responsible for around 2 million premature deaths every year. Air pollution can affect the respiratory system and cause symptoms such as breathing difficulties, coughing, sore throats, headaches and eye irritation. It reduces respiratory capacity and can damage the cardiovascular system. Industrial activity and household fireplaces used to be the principal source of atmospheric pollution in industrialised countries. This situation has changed drastically, and it is now emissions caused by the rapidly growing transport sector which are the major contributors, especially in urban areas. The subject of air quality inside buildings is now also considered to be a matter of major concern to public health. French people spend on average 80% of their time in enclosed spaces (housing, offices, schools etc). This situation encourages symptoms (allergies and irritations of the airways etc) in many people who have suffered long-term exposure, despite the fact that the concentration of pollutants is sometimes low. Cutting-edge French expertise for over 30 years, several regulatory, financial and technical tools have been developed by France, the European Union or through international conventions in order to improve the outdoor air quality. There are currently more than 800 stations for measuring outdoor air quality across France. In 140 French towns, quality indices for 4 pollutants are calculated every day. Almost 500,000 industrial and agricultural plants which are liable to cause pollution are also closely monitored under the ICPE regulations (Classified Installation for the Protection of the Environment). Applying these regulations to industry since the 1970's has since led to a major reduction in a large number of atmospheric pollutants in particular: - an 85% reduction in total emissions of SO2, - a 39% reduction in total emissions of NOX, - a 40% reduction in VOCs. Despite this progress, several pollutants still cause concern, in particular NO2, particulate matter and ozone. Improving the knowledge and technologies to cut these emissions is still necessary. As regards indoor air quality, several initiatives have recently been put in place in France, as a result of the Grenelle Environment Round Table, a public process which aims to prepare long-term decisions in a participatory fashion. In particular, the Grenelle Environment Round Table aims to implement, from 2011 onwards, compulsory labelling as regards emissions from construction and decoration products. Monitoring the quality of indoor air in certain buildings open to the public is also planned. The French air quality market is estimated at more than 4.4 billion euros (2007) with a strong potential for growth. The number of jobs directly linked to air quality is estimated to reach 15,000 by 2020. In developing or emerging countries, there are considerable needs in terms of air quality. In several towns, concentrations of air pollutants greatly exceed the limits recommended by WHO. Skills and know-how shown by French experts in the field of air quality, as well as excellent experience gained internationally, have meant these needs can be met. This brochure presents the public and private expertise in the field of air quality. (author)