In 2022, the energy costs of the University of Bordeaux’s 54,000 students and 6,000 academic and administrative staff are approximately 11 million euros. In 2023, it should rise to almost 20 million euros! Like companies and other public institutions, faculty have been overtaken by rising energy prices and, more broadly, the demand for more energy storage.
In a sign of his concern, new president Dean Lewis accompanied the vice president for environment and social transitions to discuss the start of the academic year this Tuesday, September 20. A portfolio created last July and accepted by Eric Macé, professor of sociology, who is very clear about the scale of the issues that need to be addressed in the face of climate change:
“We are a big university, and therefore we have big responsibilities. We will put at the center of the University the means to equip our students for ecological transitions, to enable them to learn, live and evolve in a degraded world. […] We will equip ourselves to make these transitions by combining the hard sciences and the social sciences […] We know that there will be an increasingly high price for inaction.
-10% this winter, -40% by 2030
Dean Lewis thus made the University of Bordeaux a “benchmark institution for social and environmental transitions”. Specifically, this will include reducing energy consumption by -10% this winter, by -40% by 2030 and by -60% in 2050. The university consumes 51 Gwh of electricity per year (the equivalent of a city with a population of 10,000) and gas. In the near future, it will play on regulating heating and air-conditioning temperatures, raising awareness, and prioritizing the ten most energy-consuming labs as they consume clean rooms, fume hoods, and other freezers. “If we can reduce these ten largest consumers by 15-20%, we will have already made good progress”with particular reference to the IECB, mentions Dean Lewis (European Institute of Chemistry and Biology), ISM (Institute of Molecular Sciences), Neurocampus or ISVV (Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences). On the other hand, reducing working hours, closing buildings or introducing remote working is out of the question: “solutions that only change the problem” and send the bill back to the students staying home.
As for the built heritage, the situation is not ideal, but the president ensures that the Bordeaux faculty takes the right train with the Operational Campus in recent years. This made it possible to update this last approximately 60% of the legacy and install a number of sensors there to fine-tune their performance. “The transfer of the state heritage will allow us to accelerate the renovation of the remaining 40 percent with an investment of about 400 million euros over 20 years,” adds. From the end of 2021, a large amount will be deducted primarily from the assessment of real estate and land assets handed over by the state.
Heating and photovoltaic network
This is only part of the 293 buildings, 572,000 m2 of built-up area and 187 hectares of land used by the University. “There is a protected perimeter dedicated to our public institution missions, and there is a perimeter of 29 hectares that we will develop to feed the economic model of the public perimeter. This could exceptionally result in a disposal like the Rue Lamartine site. In talent [cédé à la mairie]but above all by renting buildings to accommodate real estate projects,” Takes out Dean Lewis. This is the case for the construction of a 400-unit student residence in Gradignan or the establishment of biotech Treefrog Therapeutics in Gradignan.
Finally, in the long term, the campus covering the municipalities of Bordeaux, Pessac, Talence and Gradignan should connect to the heating network and install massive photovoltaic panels on its roofs and car parks. An effective way to free yourself at the energy level assures Eric Macé:
“Today, 12,000 m2 of solar panels are being installed, and we have identified a potential of 30,000 m2 that can be financed. The total potential is around 100,000 m2, and with such an area we will cover half of our annual consumption of electricity! The goal is self-consuming or even becoming an electricity producer. These are increasingly profitable investments!”