University

Ten energy-intensive laboratories in the monuments of the University of Bordeaux

“We are a research-intensive university with many health biology laboratories that are very challenging,” explains Dean Lewis, president of the University of Bordeaux. We want to specifically hit ten of them, because if we reduce energy consumption by 15 to 20% (mainly electricity), it will outweigh the consumption of the entire operation. A targeted approach that does not exempt the university of Bordeaux, which has 54,000 students, from the expected cost-saving measures, for example by reducing the heating or air conditioning of the computer servers by several degrees.

Avoid wild cuts

“We looked at our large energy-intensive laboratories and wondered if we could reduce the load there or even postpone particularly energy-intensive operations and thus avoid wild cuts,” adds Éric Macé, vice president responsible for environmental and social transitions. These gaps in terms of energy consumption include, for example, the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology (IECB) based in Pessac. “There are, for example, 150 fume hoods that are constantly in operation, and freezers at -84 °C and NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance)”, says the president of the university. He also notes that in the Institute of Molecular Sciences (ISM), 250 hoods (ventilated laboratory spaces) are constantly running to renew the air three times an hour.

The company’s consumption is also significantly increased by the measuring and imaging equipment that, for example, Neurocampus is equipped with. “There are animal businesses that we cannot stop like this,” the president emphasizes. The clean room in Pessac (where particle concentration is controlled for research purposes) is also causing a lot of panic on the counters.

Concerned about the possible drop in power supply voltage from 240 to 220, the university management also launched a sort of audit of this equipment to see if those that will be maintained will work well on this equipment. power.

Renovate energy filters as well

Thanks to the transfer of the university heritage of the state to the University of Bordeaux, which represents 10 to 15 million m2, the organization had time to identify its energy sieves. “Already 35% of our properties have been modernized (with final delivery in 2023) and a maintenance budget for 25 years, which we have not done before,” the president claims. It remains a large project assessed for the remaining legacy or 400 million euros over 20 years.

“We don’t have a lot of m2 in terms of national metrics,” points out Dean Lewis, adding that 29 hectares have been identified and can be sold on a build-to-build lease model. The aim is to ensure some consistency on campus, for example by prioritizing student housing.

The company is also considering equipping with additional photovoltaic panels (today 12,000 m2) and in Talence, Pessac and Gradignane, the thermal network (geothermal energy from biomass) would mainly concern university structures from 2024. it is not just about “getting through the winter”, but about anticipating a permanent energy crisis.

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