Again to college: Toulouse universities swap to energy-saving mode this winter

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Three weeks after the start of the new school year in Toulouse, energy prudence invites debate. Universities expect energy costs to rise.

120,000 students from Haute-Garonne (140,000 at the academic level), the vast majority of whom have started the academic year at the three Toulouse universities (Paul Sabatier, Jean Jaurès and Capitole), will have to get used to studying in heated classrooms until 19. °C this winter.

The energy prudence debate is back on the negotiating table. With the announced increase of electricity suppliers, the bill will inevitably increase.

In the Rangueil district, Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier University, a behemoth of higher education that hosts more than 37,000 students (including 19,000 international) on a 150-hectare campus, is confident that the ranking can show an increase of “around 40%”. During the press conference, the president of the university, Jean-Marc Broto.

“This is a matter of concern”

“It is a subject of concern to us,” he admitted. The problem is twofold: saving energy and paying managers. A number of works have been done during the work on the new campus buildings, roofing, insulation, network. We will be working with all components and labs for this winter. The state is asking us to provide an assessment for the campus of Rangueil. Our energy debt is 6 million euros per year, we hope for 8 million by 2022, we hope it will not be more. I’m not worried, but…”

Distance learning courses in case of classroom closures? Jean-Marc Broto “doesn’t think so”. It’s also the initiative of the University of Strasbourg, which has its own media effect, and is proposing to close its doors for an extra two weeks this winter to cope with rising energy prices.

But no university president wants these savings to be made “to the detriment of students”. The latter do not want to return to distance education, as in prison.

“You can’t go back to the distance”

For Higher Education and Research Minister Sylvie Retailleau, students must remain a priority. “It shouldn’t penalize training,” he recently told Franceinfo. We are coming out of the Covid era. We must face these teachings strongly […] you can’t go back far.”

This is also the opinion of Emmanuelle Garnier, president of the University of Toulouse 2 Jean Jaurès (Mirail), which this year admits almost 30,000 students (including 40% scholarship holders) and is also preparing to adopt energy prudence.

“The effect will be relative to Jean Jaures”

“The University is committed to a trajectory of vigilance and responsibility, explains Emmanuelle Garnier. Continuous development and everything that can be done for this purpose we subscribe to. Financially minded and limit rising energy costs. We have already traveled a good part of the way in the renovation of our buildings. The impact of the measures will be relative, because we already have good energy indicators.”

Jean Jaurès University is already supplied with heat by the Mirail incinerator. “This will be a source of energy that does not require additional costs,” continues the president. It’s less restrictive than heating us with gas or electricity.”

There is still a 40% increase in electricity bills in the budget envelope of around €680,000.

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