CLEAN or Technologies and open innovation for low carbon regions, a project funded under Interreg Europe programme, has been officially launched in the region of Normandy (France), at a conference hosted by the project partners Cooperative Les 7 Vents. Representatives and stakeholders from the 9 partner regions have been welcomed at the Abbaye aux Dames, in the city of Caen, on 10th and 11th of October, for the launch event of CLEAN.

The Launch Conference, that has brought together more than 70 energy experts and stakeholders, has provided to the partnership a great opportunity, not only, to present regional good practices supporting the energy efficiency of buildings, but also to exchange knowledge and inspiration for a joint learning to improve regional energy efficiency policies. Sandrine Mésirard, Director of the Environment and Sustainable Development Department in the Normandy Region, reviewed the Normand context and the expectations from this project, saying that, “the Region of Normandie is particularly looking forward to proofed experiences that could be replicated on its territory”. According to Florian Guillotte, Project Manager at Cooperative Les 7 Vents, “in the domain of energy efficiency policy-making, CLEAN can bear a broader visibility to the existing initiatives while giving insights to ameliorate them”.

During the conference, CLEAN partners have held a ‘speed dating/matchmaking for energy efficiency’ workshop, presenting their regional Good Practices through different round tables. Afterwards, they have selected the most interesting ones and they have agreed to carry out some staff exchanges to further understand what project partners have achieved and ensure the best knowledge share possible. “Through Europe, we can see a lot of the good practices are focused on buildings improvement. Precisely working on this topic, it reminds me -and us all- the way to go. But I’m thrilled and inspired by all these initiatives”, highlighted Alain Deffontaines, Head of the Buildings and Sustainable Development Department in the Normandy Region. Furthermore, François Xavier Priollaud, 14th Vice-President in charge of European Affairs and International Relations of the Normandy Region, has concluded that “Normandy Region is happy  and proud to be part of this process, which shows that our idea of Europe and EU is not all about reaching funds, but being a true participant in sharing and innovating together. Concrete things are happening there”. 

CLEAN partners have got the opportunity to experience some of the Norman expertise in energy efficiency for buildings through two study visits. On the one hand, partners have visited 43 renovated social housings around Hérouville Saint Clair, a project with very low energy consumption. Between 2008 and 2015, in what was West Normandy at the time, a system called FORES enabled the renovation of 2,935 housing units, meeting the BBC Effinergie Rénovation standard. The objective is to achieve positive energy building performance by 2020. To facilitate the implementation of such achievements, it was decided in 2011 that ERDF would support the existing project. These funds have been acquired under Article 7 of the ERDF Operational Program: ‘Support for sustainable urban development’.

On the other hand, CLEAN partners have visited the Quartier Montmorency to learn more about low-energy retrofitted houses. The area was built after World War II, generally, without any concern for insulation. According to the CLEAN partners Cooperative Les 7 Vents, this area is a good example of how the ‘Normandy Strategy’ policy is implemented with a “trust-chain”. In this area, the proliferation of quality renovations applied to old, low-insulated houses shows how much the Region's support is a booster for the achievement of the European Union's energy efficiency targets. As of now, the results of these actions initiated by the regional authority show with a deployment of private renovation projects achievements.

The 11th of October, the CLEAN partnership has also held their second project meeting. Partners have reviewed the aim, objectives, expected outputs, workplan status and project progress. “The Launch Conference has brought us the opportunity to also discuss project management and coordination, communication and dissemination activities and exchange our experience by sharing the analysis of the current situation in all partner regions and exchanging views on regional Good Practices”, adds Ianire Renobales from ERNACT, Lead Partners of the CLEAN project.