In 2022, the bill for the University of Bordeaux, its 54,000 students and 6,000 academic and administrative staff, represents approximately 11 million euros. In 2023, it should jump to almost 20 million euros! Like companies and other public institutions, the faculty is overtaken by sharply rising energy prices and, in a broader sense, by the imperative of greater energy sobriety.
As a sign of his concerns, Dean Lewis, the new president, accompanied his vice president for environmental and social change this Tuesday, September 20, to discuss the start of the academic year. A portfolio created last July, taken over by Eric Macé, Professor of Sociology, which speaks very clearly of the scale of the issues that need to be addressed in relation to climate change:
“We are a large university and therefore have a large responsibility. We will put resources at the center of the university to equip our students for ecological transitions to enable them to learn, live and develop in a degraded world.” […] We will equip ourselves to implement these transitions by combining hard sciences and social sciences […] We know that inaction will have increasingly high costs.
-10% this winter, -40% by 2030
Dean Lewis thus aims to make Bordeaux University a “setting reference values for social and environmental changes”. Specifically, it will reduce energy consumption by -10% this winter, then by -40% by 2030 and up to -60% in 2050. The university consumes 51 Gwh of electricity per year (the equivalent of a city with 10,000 inhabitants) and as much gas. In the near future, the adjustment of heating and air conditioning temperatures, awareness campaigns and prioritization of the ten laboratories that consume the most energy, as they use clean rooms, fume hoods and other freezers, will be played. “If we can reduce these top ten consumers by 15-20%, we’ve already made good progress”clarifies Dean Lewis, citing in particular the IECB (European Institute of Chemistry and Biology), ISM (Institute of Molecular Sciences), Neurocampus or ISVV (Institute of Sciences and Sciences). On the other hand, shortening working hours, closing premises or storing work remotely is not considered: “solutions that only shift the problem” and send the bill back to students who stay home.
In terms of built heritage, the situation is not ideal, but the President ensures that the Faculty of Bordeaux takes the right train with the Campus operation in recent years. This made it possible to renovate the last 60% or so of the heritage and install a series of sensors there to fine-tune their operation. “The transfer of powers to State Heritage will allow us to speed up the renovation of the remaining 40% with an investment of around €400 million over 20 years,” adds. A huge sum, which will come first from the valuation of real estate and land that the state transferred from the end of 2021.
Heating and photovoltaic network
This is only a fraction of the 293 buildings, 572,000 m2 of built-up area and 187 hectares that the university uses. “There is a protected precinct dedicated to our public establishment missions and there is a 29-hectare precinct that we are going to develop to fulfill the economic model of a public precinct. This may exceptionally lead to liquidation, such as the rue Lamartine site.” in Talena [cédé à la mairie]but above all through the rental of buildings for the location of real estate projects”, Dean Lewis blurts out. This is the case of the construction of a 400-unit student residence in Gradignan or the establishment of the biotech Treefrog Therapeutics, also in Gradignan.
Finally, in the longer term, the campus, which spans the villages of Bordeaux, Pessac, Talence and Gradignan, should be connected to the heating network and massively deploy photovoltaic panels on its roofs and parking lots. Eric Macé provides an effective way to emancipate yourself on an energetic level:
“Today there are 12,000 m2 of solar panels before installation and we have identified a financeable potential of 30,000 m2. The total potential is around 100,000 m2 and with such an area we would cover half of our annual electricity consumption! The goal is to become a self-consumer or even a producer of electricity. more and more profitable investments!”