Building trade, developer

SYE Entreprise specializes in renovation works and is an expert in bio-sourced insulation

Yves SpaethElwart

Created ten years ago and based at Vigneulles les Hattonchatel in the Meuse department of France, SYE offers its expertise in insulation to private customers renovating homes throughout the region. As an expert in innovation and sustainability, it uses mainly bio-sourced products, such as cellulose wadding and wood fiber, and occasionally more traditional insulation materials, such as glass wool or rock wool.

Very conscious of the quality of insulation products it offers, the company engaged at a very early stage in characterizing and defining performance of these products by contributing to the work done by committees and working groups, including the Technical Assessment formulation committee and the ACERMI thermal insulation certification committee.

Company head Yves Spaeth Elwart explains: "Ten years ago, the trade specialists were very much in the dark when customers asked for bio-sourced products. Today, they have to know which products to install and why they are installing them. They have to learn the right technical skills, find out about the performance and installation of these new insulation products, and train themselves and their employees in these new techniques. CAPEB, of which I'm a member, is involved in this skills qualification initiative, and in 2009 created the ECO Artisan accreditation which I now hold.

The experience I've gained and my constant quest for more information about how different insulation products perform mean that I'm in a good position to offer my customers the right solutions. And that's not always easy. In practice, I have to reconcile their expectations of 'bigger and better' with the technical constraints of providing effective insulation. I must be able to explain why a particular thickness is necessary, even if it might reduce their floor space slightly. I also have to justify the reason for the difference in price between these new insulation materials and the more traditional alternatives, especially since the floor areas of the houses I renovate are usually fairly large at around 200 m². In terms of cost, the first question my customers ask is how much are they entitled to in terms of eco-incentives (eco-PTZ, energy savings certificates, etc. - ed.). Only around 30% of them look at it from the point of view of how much energy they will save and how much lower their heating bills will be over a period of years as a result of installing efficient insulation.

To estimate that level of efficiency, I use the R-value and lambda performance data published and validated by ACERMI, and I source my certified products from small merchants in my own region. I pay close attention to certificate validity dates, because that's really important. Certification depends on a six-monthly check of the products themselves and the manufacturer's quality system to ensure that the claimed levels of performance are being maintained over time. That's a particularly important consideration for insurers."

  Download Issue 1 of the newsletter - October 2014