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Gas, electric, wood, solar, heat pump: which heating is the most economical in a new house?

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what heating for a new house?

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Faced with the requirements of RE2020 to reduce CO2 emissions, choosing your heating mode is a little more complex when building your new home. But beyond the legal requirements, what is the most economical heating for your new home? Maisons SIC, homebuilder in the Southwest for 50 years, sheds light on this burning issue. 


Economical heating linked to RE2020 requirements

Before talking about economical heating, it is important to point out new obligations related to RE 2020, the thermal regulations put in place for all new homes since January 1, 2022. The goal, by 2031, is to lower the maximum threshold in kgCO2/m2 by more than 30% compared to the current reference level. Which lowers, in a single-family house, the maximum threshold of the construction carbon requirement from 640 from 2022 to 415 kgCO2/m2 from 2031. 


Et in terms of personal energy consumption, with the aim of adopting non-fossil solutions, the threshold is now set at 4 kgCO2/m2/year and effectively excludes heating systems using exclusively gas. While an average existing gas-heated house emits nearly 5 tons of CO2/year, the same house with RE2020 standards should emit less than 0,5 tons, or 10 times less. 


Alone exception to the rule : a transitional application provision has been introduced regarding the requirements on the energy component for individual houses for building permits already signed before 2022 and providing for the delivery of a gas service. Indeed, “to accommodate the transition planned for entry into force, building permits for single-family houses heated by gas can still be obtained until the end of 2023 when a planning permit providing for a gas supply has already been obtained. been delivered” (Government on February 18, 2021).


It exists many types of heating for your new RE 2020 home. But which are the most economical? 


Gas: uneconomical heating mode, except in the case of a condensing boiler

Traditional gas boilers are therefore now prohibited in all new house construction, due to RE 2020. It is therefore no longer possible to install a gas boiler, including a condensing gas boiler.

Indeed, if, according to the historic gas supplier Engie, "the condensing boiler is a boiler which has the capacity to recover energy from the water vapor it produces during combustion", the equipment makes it possible to limit gas consumption and achieve energy savings (25% to 30% per year) but not enough to enter the limit of 4 kgCO2/m2/year. 


With regard to the economic side of gas heating, prices have risen sharply and this method of heating is now considered quite expensive: 

  • Between 500 and 600 € for accommodation of 30m2
  • Between 800 and 1 € for accommodation of 000m50
  • Between €1 and €000 for a 1m300 home
  • Between €1 and €400 for a 1m600 home
  • Between €1 and €650 for a 1m900 home

(Estimates made using the comparator Hello Watt in January 2023 for the municipality of Paris (tariff zone 2).


If you really want to switch to gas heating in your future new home, the only solution to meet the CO emission criterion2 would be to couple your gas condensing boiler with a hybrid heat pump/boiler/heat pump.


Electric: heating not at all economical and prohibited in 100% electric mode

Already, since RT 2012, builders of individual houses hardly built new 100% Joule effect houses (100% electric). And the RE 2020 has finished burying all-electricity in the construction of individual houses. Indeed, electric heating remains a very expensive energy in the long term (but with a fairly low investment if “normal” radiators are chosen). These heaters are very energy intensive. With a constant increase in prices, but not as strong as for fuel oil (now totally prohibited in new houses), electricity remains the least economical heating mode, as this diagram of the Ministry of Ecological Transition: 


The price of electric heating per m2 is estimated between 18 and 20€/m2/year depending on the electricity supplier. If the accommodation is energy-intensive, this can go up to 33-35€/m2/year depending on the supplier chosen. 

All-electric heating is therefore no longer possible when building a new house. Electric radiators are authorized in RE 2020 in secondary rooms in addition to a wood-burning stove or a heat pump. Only the towel radiator in the bathrooms remains authorized in the two regulations. Inertia radiators, the only ones that really prove to be economical in terms of energy, are those to be preferred when choosing multiple heating sources. 


Heating with wood: the most economical choice

Wood stove, pellet stove, biomass boiler… Wood remains the best choice if you want to install an economical heating method in your new individual house. Already in 2016, Ademe (the environment and energy management agency) estimated the average French heating bill at €1. And wood was already the least expensive fuel, with a heating bill of €661/year, compared to €811 for gas. With the increase in gas and electricity prices, wood is all the more economical as a means of heating. Several solutions are then possible: 

  • The wood stove : with logs or pellets. In the first case, there is the problem of log storage space and the yield is around 1%. Pellets are a little cheaper than logs but above all, they take up less space and the efficiency of a pellet stove is around 70%. The cost runs on average between 85 and 2500€.
  • The biomass boiler has a higher installation cost (around €18) but in the long term, it remains one of the most economical solutions since the heat produced after combustion heats the central heating circuit (including the entirety of your new house) and can even produce domestic hot water (DHW).

For these two very economical heating solutions, the average annual cost of use is around €800-€1000. 


The Air-Air or Air-Water heat pump: more than 60% heating savings

economical heat pump heating

We have already told you about 11 reasons to choose a heat pump to heat your new home. Among them: non-binding maintenance, a low-noise solution, the possibility of controlling your heat pump remotely, using it to heat water and making it your central heating. 

The Pac air/air is one of the least expensive solutions in new construction. The investment is quite significant, between €6 and €000. But the cost of heating per year is then around 10 euros. 

The Pac Air/Eau is accompanied by the installation of a whole network of hot water, radiators or heated floors, so it is more expensive, around 20 euros. But the comfort of life and future energy savings, as well as the many aids that you can obtain, allow a large number of future owners to choose this solution.  


Solar: an economical mode of heating… in the long term

economical solar heating?

It is quite possible to reduce your energy bill with solar energy. By using an electric back-up, the price of 1 kWh of heat with solar energy can be around 8 euro cents. The savings made then represent between 10% and 50%. 

The installation of a solar heating system initially represents a significant investment, between 5 and 500 €. But there are very many state aid to finance the purchase and installation of your thermal solar panels

Would you like advice on the heating to be installed in your future new home? Contact the single-family home construction professionals at Maisons SIC.


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