Alongside food and transport, housing is one of the three sectors with the highest carbon footprint emitted by households. And at a time when the housing crisis is exacerbated by an environmental emergency, supporting the energy transition in housing is a key issue for engineering, which must put forward concrete solutions in an economic environment made more challenging by the price of housing.
The aim today is to offer innovative solutions along the entire housing production chain.
Innovation is a matter of interest to all stakeholders: public agencies, legislators (regulations), planners, housing associations, developers, grant providers (including support for innovation), architects, engineering firms, builders and users. Egis deploys innovation in this field and accompanies its clients in pilot projects.
Using wood in the structure reduces the carbon footprint of construction by more than 70%. Our high-rise wood construction projects include:
- the Carmelha tower in Monaco: wooden structure, heat-recovery ventilation, hot water generated by solar panels, geothermal heating and air conditioning, photovoltaic panels, hydrogen fuel cells;
- the “Balcons en forêt” tower blocks in Saint-Herblain: all-wood structure, including lift shafts and stairwells, 100% natural ventilation;
- the Silva tower in Bordeaux: 50m high with a wooden exposed beam exoskeleton structure,
These are illustrations of our ability to invent new solutions, whether technical or organisational.
Working with the appropriate partners, we must now study ways of overcoming:
- economic obstacles: how to reach financial breakeven on these operations, how to organise supply channels to increase the volume of production of wooden structure housing while continuing to manage our forests sustainably;
- regulatory obstacles by altering building standards: what are the strain limitations of this type of building? How do they behave with respect to vibration? Are current earthquake standards sufficient? Does the fire resistance of the towers guarantee the safety of inhabitants? How can we provide comfortable living conditions in the summer without using air-conditioning?
All of these questions are currently being investigated. Egis truly taken on the exciting challenge of wood design. The Silva tower was tested with digital simulations and real-life condition earthquake tests (a physical model on 1:3 scale) in partnership with FCBA. It will also be subjected to wind tunnel testing on a 1:250 scale which will help to ensure comfortable conditions for residents in the event of high winds.
Egis also supports its clients in sourcing funding for design and works, in particular through project management consultancy assignments.
With 15,000 dwellings per year (designed or built), Egis is an active contributor to the ecology transition.