The majority of existing buildings does not follow present energy efficiency regulations. In order to fulfill environmental requirements it seems impossible, in this context, to consider a global demolition-reconstruction policy. Renovation programmes need to be implemented. An innovative energy efficiency improvement solution is proposed, enabling to explore urbain energy ressources presently underexploited. The concept is to add, around the building, an external envelope whose main function would be to collect energy. An optimization tool aiming at finding the optimal geometry and collectors’ spatial distribution on the envelope’s surface, is developed. Its validation is carried out on simple cases, it is then applied in situations showing strong contrasts: optimization during summer and winter, in Oslo and in Tunis, with close obstacles partially masking the Sun. In order to build the emerging complex geometries, the use of gridshell structures is proposed. These structures are obtained through elastic deformation of an initially plane grid made of composite material slender beams. This raises the problem of composite materials durability under sustained loading. In order to study the long-term behavior (creep and creep rupture) of these materials composed of reinforcing fibres and a polymeric viscoelastic matrix, a micromechanical model is developed. This shear-lag type model allows studying the influence of the constituents’ mechanical properties on the lifespan of the composite under permanent pure traction or combined shear and traction loadings.