France’s drive to conserve energy and support the environment by encouraging the population to install insulation has been much praised. Known to many as the “1 Euro Scheme”, householders can opt to have their homes insulated for as little as one Euro, depending upon their income. However, homeowners have been reporting that when mineral wool is installed, this can result in damage and costs that far exceed the savings made by taking advantage of the 1 Euro scheme.
A report by France Info followed the story of Margareth Chatelain, a retired teacher, living alone in the countryside. After getting her attic insulated several months ago with mineral wool, she found that air could no longer circulate beneath her roof tiles. She explained: “The mineral wool, as it’s all wet, it permeates the tile. You can see the wooden beam is also wet, it’s starting to rot.” Ms Chatelain had not been eligible for the full “1 Euro” scheme, but she had received some state aid towards the insulation project, also contributing some of her own money towards the insulation installation.
Ms Chatelain now believes she is in the situation of having to save her roof, after the damage caused by the mineral wool insulation. Although the French scheme to insulate, or improve the insulation of, as many homes as possible is a positive step towards improving energy efficiency, perhaps greater care needs to be taken over the choice of insulation material. Otherwise there is a risk of homeowners regretting having embraced the French government’s scheme.
Ms Chatelain’s case, and others like it, are adding to concerns about the “1 Euro” scheme. As France Info described, insulating an attic for just one euro may seem enticing offer, but it is one that is also causing distrust due to a rise of scams, as set out in a Special Envoy programme, “Insulation: A 1 Euro Nightmare”. The programme delves into how the scheme is funded, by polluting French companies essentially paying the bills of those who install the insulation.