Logo Polénergie

An experimental approach to supported DIY renovation (ARA)

Summary : This experiment, lead by Polénergie, enables its beneficiaries to do a part of their energy efficiency improvements themselves while benefiting from the different financial aid available, including the Habiter Mieux (Live Better) program and the tax credit, normally reserved for work carried out entirely by professionals.

Share this report


  • Start date : March 2014
  • Implementation site : Ardèche
  • Budget : 97640 €
  • Source and details on funding : Fondation de France Rhône-Alpes Region Abbé Pierre Foundation for Housing Solidarity




Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  23/12/2014
Solution(s) : Fuel poverty
Country :  France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Stature of the programme :  Local
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Bottom Of the Pyramid (BOP)
  • Domain :  Housing, Energy

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Energy Poverty »

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : León Alexandre , « An experimental approach to supported DIY renovation (ARA) », **Journal RESOLIS** (2014)

Background to the programme

This supported DIY renovation program is integrated within the framework of the "eco-housing" call for projects which is led by the Fondation de France (see "To Know More"). For our organization, this represented an opportunity to begin working concretely on this subject which has interested us for several years.

Objectives of the programme

The objective is to support 15 families in their thermal and energy renovation projects, who meet the following criteria:
• Difficulties in paying their heating bills and / or suffer from discomfort due to a lack of heat.
• Owner occupiers on low incomes (Anah - National Housing- 2014 levels) or property landlords whose tenants are in energy poverty.
• Individuals who are motivated to do the work themselves (the degree of participation to be defined case by case).
• The property is located in Ardèche.

Implemented actions

Polénergie provides technical, financial and educational support to the beneficiaries. They have notably worked with PACT, Anah and communities as well as on the question of the limits of the intervention for each and the insurance of the construction sites. Therefore, preliminary work is carried out with the beneficiaries and the professionals precisely determine the tasks among those on the construction site that will be carried out, in full or not, by the beneficiaries themselves and what are the precautions and possible consequences that must be taken in to account in terms of insuring the property and people.

The tasks that are included are:
• Thermal insulation of walls, roofs, floors and glass walls.
• Changing or installing a heating system and / or a system to produce hot water.
• Ventilation.

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

The program started in March 2014, and to date (December 2014), thirty families have been met. 12 construction sites should begin in early 2015, 7 others still need the preliminary design work to be completed so their feasibility can be determined.

Original characteristics

The originality of this program essentially comes from the fact that this experimental scheme for DIY renovation relies on the intervention of craftsmen and construction companies and not on organisations specialising in social and technical support. The objective pursued through this scheme is to help make supported DIY renovation one tool among many others in the energy renovation of houses.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

• Funding of the program:
◦ Fondation de France,
◦ Rhône-Alpes Region,
◦ Fondation Abbé Pierre,
◦ Foundation for Solidarity Housing.

• Operational partnerships:
◦ Anah as part of the Living Better program.
◦ Craftsmen and building professionals.
◦ Training organisations


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

The main difficulties met concerned the formalisation of the relationship between the beneficiaries of the process and the artisans, in particular the question of insuring people during the construction and the guarantee given by professionals as to the quality of the work (including a ten-year warranty).

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

The best solution we found for insuring the participants on the construction site is that proposed by the Castor Rhône-Alpes association, who negotiated a contract with a major insurance company which, under certain conditions, enables all the volunteers participating in a supported DIY renovation site to be covered.
The question of the guarantees provided by the building professionals is still being considered at the time of writing this report.

Suggestions for future improvement :

Today we are striving to create conditions to continue this experimental approach until the end of 2016 especially in order to help establish a "secure" framework for beneficiaries and professionals (via a robust model which brings the relationship under contract) along with building up an identifiable offer of supported DIY renovation in the department of Ardeche, whose model is reproducible.

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

See previous answer, the two are linked in this case.

Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :

Berrier, H., "Contribution of supported DIY renovation to the housing energy renovation plan," General Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development (2014)

To know more

Call for eco-housing project: http://www.fondationdefrance.org/Nos-Actions/Agir-pour-l-environnement/Environnement/Eco-Habitat-renovation-de-l-habitat-ancien

Twitter: https://twitter.com/polenergie
Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/1128600972684

Share this report
Download the report