Sustainable construction

Construction is a major issue for the Bouygues group. Today, it is essential to design and build structures that integrate all aspects of sustainable development.  New ways of building must be invented. The Bouygues group’s construction companies not only meet their legal obligations but also strive to stay one step ahead of them.


An opportunity

The deadlines set by the Grenelle Environmental Forum on the environment for between 2010 and 2020 mean that buildings will have to be constructed in a new way, with bioclimatic architecture, low-carbon materials such as wood, reliance on renewable energy sources and individually managed comfort features. Far from being a constraint, Bouygues sees this new method of construction, available not only in France but also in other countries, as a key differentiation factor.

Building life cycles

Rethinking the way we design buildings is essential if we are to improve their energy efficiency.

In the building sector, CO2 emissions can be linked to three different stages in a building's life cycle: construction, use, and end-of-life demolition. Most emissions occur during the operating phase from sources such as heating, air conditioning and electrical appliances. Using a bioclimatic approach to rethink the design of new buildings, especially how they are insulated, is thus fundamental to improving their energy efficiency. The average energy consumption of a building in France is currently 400 kWhPE/sq m/year.


Bouygues is seeking the most demanding certification standards for its new or renovated buildings in France and other countries.

Bouygues is constructing more and more buildings that qualify not only for energy-specific credentials such as the BBC low-energy building label, but also for broader certifications covering all environmental aspects of construction. These include the French HQE® High Environmental Quality certification scheme, the North American standard LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Britain's BREEAM® (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). By 2014 Challenger, Bouygues Construction's headquarters currently under renovation, will have all three of these certifications. Bouygues Construction also carried out the largest HQE®-certified renovation project in France at the Tour First in Paris-La Défense.

New Buildings

Under France’s Grenelle II Act, new buildings must be designed and constructed to consume less energy.

Under the Grenelle II Act, passed in October 2009 to implement Grenelle I, the energy consumption of new buildings must not exceed 50 kWhPE/sq m/year by 2012. Categorised as low-energy, these buildings are known as low-energy buildings (BBC – Bâtiments Basse Consommation). Thermal regulations will also become more stringent so that all new and renovated buildings meet the new energy performance requirements.

Reducing energy consumption by renovating

Renovation: an important market not to be overlooked.

The scope of the Grenelle Environmental Forum extends beyond the 300,000 housing units and 14 million sq metres of office space newly built each year: existing buildings will have to be made more energy-efficient too. The objective is ambitious: to cut consumption by 38% by 2020. A huge number of renovation projects are on the way, since the existing building stock comprises 30 million housing units and 814 million sq meters of office space (source: Ademe). To meet this challenge, Bouygues has put together several rehabilitation offers for different types of buildings and combined them with energy performance contracts.

Turning energy-saving into a selling point

Bouygues is working to quantify the savings made by reducing CO2 emissions and to offer customers low-carbon eco-variants.

In practice, that means constructing positive-energy buildings, which produce more energy than they consume. They cost more to build than conventional buildings, but the owner can pass on the excess cost to occupants, who will pay higher rents but save an equivalent amount on their energy costs.


Smaller-scale eco-variants can also generate substantial savings. For example, those proposed by Colas in 2010 represented a total reduction of 21,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Bouygues Immobilier has come up with its own positive-energy building concept, Green Office® in Meudon. On 11 January 2011, it teamed up with Alstom to create Embix, a joint company that offers energy management services for eco-communities.


(Updated: January 2016)

ENSAM/ESTP partnership specialist masters diploma in Sustainable Construction and Housing

With the support of Bouygues, France’s Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts et Métiers (ENSAM) and Ecole Spéciale des Travaux Publics, du Bâtiment et de l’Industrie (ESTP) have created a specialist masters diploma in Sustainable Construction and Housing.

BREEAM® Certification

Bouygues Immobilier, first property developer in the world to obtain BREEAM® International certification at the “outstanding” level, for its Spring building