France brings in ban on gas boilers for new housing

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 24 Jan, 2022 Updated Mon 24 Jan 2022 14:29 CEST
France brings in ban on gas boilers for new housing
A lady pictured next to her gas boiler in France. This method of heading is now effectively outlawed for new-builds. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN / AFP)

As part of its continuing drive for more energy-efficient housing, France is outlawing gas boilers in new housing.


French environmental regulations mean that from the beginning of 2022 it is effectively impossible to install a gas boiler in a newly built house. 

This rule applies to anyone who has made a demand for a permis de construire (building permit) from January 1st 2022 onwards. 

For the moment this applies only to new buildings, and not to people doing a renovation project or changing the heating system in their homes.

The aim of this regulation is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 


The law sets the maximum CO2 emissions from household heating at 4kg per year - a limit that would be quickly surpassed by any gas boiler. 

In areas where a new gas supplies have been authorised prior to January 2022, those who lodge a request for planning permission before the end of 2023 will still be able to install gas boilers. 

Newly built collective housing - blocks of flats for example - will see emissions limits being gradually introduced. These limits are higher than for individual houses.

The restrictions for collective housing will lead to a "quasi-ban on gas boilers from 1st January 2025", according to the the service-public website. Gas boilers will only be able to be used in a hybrid system, with a heat pump for example, in cases of extreme cold. 

Newly built offices and educational facilities (primary and secondary schools) will also have to comply with the new regulation if a request for planning permission is made after 1st July 2022. 


What alternatives?

  • Heat pumps - pompes à chaleur 

Heat pumps have a smaller carbon footprint than gas boilers. There are many different kinds but they generally work by drawing heat from outside a building into it - even when it is cold outside. 

  • Solar power

Solar power is becoming ever more efficient, powerful and cost-effective, but still remains more expensive than using a gas boiler or a heat pump. To get the most out of a solar panel system, you would have to be living in the south of France where it is generally sunnier. 

  • Biomass heating

Biomass heaters generally work by burning wooden pellets. If this wood is harvested sustainably, it is a far cleaner way to heat your home than using a gas boiler. 

Financing for renovations

France has a number of state-backed schemes to help you finance ecological renovations of your home if it has already been built.

If you live in a property in France as your primary residence, you access significant amounts of financing – up to €10,000 – to perform renovations on your home to make it more energy efficient via the MaPrimeRenov’ scheme. 


The money can be used for insulation, heating, ventilation and energy audits of homes. You cannot access this grant if your French property is used as a second-home. 

READ MORE French property renovation grants closed to second-home owners

You could also access a zero percent interest loan, known as an éco-PTZ, for example. These loans of up to €50,000 will be maintained at least until the end of 2023. They are issued by regular banks, but backed by the government. 

One of the benefits of taking out a loan rather than a grant is that there are no earnings limits. You must simply be the property owner – if you don’t live at the home yourself, you must be renting it or commit to renting it once the works are complete. 

The property must be at least two years old.

Works that can be paid for with an éco-PTZ include: roof, wall, window and door insulation; and installation of renewable-powered heating. 

The government advice for all energy efficiency related renovations is to begin by isolating your property, before installing new heating systems. 


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hupkensconsult 2022/01/25 23:38
Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion around the environmental consequences of burning wood. Often a newspaper article quotes the statistics of an open fireplace in a room and then extrapolates those figures for all wood burning appliances. Open fires are the worst! Pretty flames but very dirty, they don’t heat the room but create a draft that sends all the warm air up the chimney. Better are the closed wood burners. And here there is a great variety in price and quality. Ranging from a simple steel box with a chimney to highly sophisticated wood gazification stoves that comply with the latest EU norms on efficiency, emissions and small particles. In 2020 the new regulations became more strict than the old ones of 2010. Officially the new wood burners have to comply with these regulations. A modern pellet stove has a 20-fold lower emission per unit of generated heat than an open wood fire. And a wood gazification stove produces ven less pollution. Important for all is using well dried and clean wood.
Dave.dufour 2022/01/25 18:34
This seems like a poor idea. Natural gas is very clean burning, and CO2 is not really a pollutant. I get the "greenhouse gas" argument, but aren't there more important ones? This will make heating homes more expensive over the long run and I doubt it accomplishes much.
rossenf 2022/01/25 17:55
Nah, that's every day from November till March...even the Russians will be coughing after a few hours in this stench.
rossenf 2022/01/25 17:54
Ah, the high-flying solvers of "real problems". Meanwhile in all cities in France in the winter you can see what you breath, and in fact you can barely breath from all the wood burning, but hey, that's not the real problem, right?
execdrive 2022/01/25 14:29
Judging by the smog and the smell of burning this morning, I thought the Russians had changed their minds and were invading France instead.😛
stuart.laing 2022/01/25 10:49
Unfortunately, the new tree will take 20 years to capture the carbon the old tree released
hughesinnormandie 2022/01/25 10:21
Exactly, it’s not rocket science, but for those people who don’t understand environmental issues, you’d think it was.
robeire 2022/01/25 08:42
Yes...because wood burning is not putting extra carbon into the atmosphere, merely cycling through what is already present during the carbon lifecycle (tree grows = traps carbon / tree dies/burns = carbon released / new tree grows = carbon bound/trapped again). This is not the case with coal or any fossil fuels which is adding new carbon to the atmosphere/cycle and is where the real problem lies.
stuart.laing 2022/01/24 17:40
Meanwhile wood burners are subsidised. Joined-up thinking ? Moi ?

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