The University of Poitiers has launched a major program to reduce energy consumption related to its property assets through a systematic and virtuous approach to the operation and use of buildings. It is reflected, in the actions carried out, by taking into account the economic, ecological and well-being of users.

Renovated, much more energy-efficient buildings

For the past 10 years, the University of Poitiers has been running a major building renovation program to reduce energy consumption (electricity, heating and water) and improve the well-being of its users. At present, of the 100,000 m² (≈ over 1M sq. ft.) of buildings to be renovated, 35,000 m² (≈375,000 sq. ft.) have already been renovated, 30,000 m² (≈323,000 sq. ft.) are under construction and the rest is planned for a 100% renovation of the buildings by 2030.

The work undertaken concerns the external insulation and waterproofing of buildings; the replacement of all doors and windows; the installation of ventilation; the renovation of toilets with low-cost flushing and electric presence detectors or detection mixers; the replacement of lighting fixtures with LEDs….

Through the scope of the work and the choice of materials used, particularly biosourced, the University of Poitiers goes beyond the thermal regulations in force (RT 2012) by anticipating the upcoming RT 2020. Objective: To ensure that renovated buildings do not exceed a consumption of 50kw m²/year.

Among the major upcoming projects, as voted at CPER/FEDER: €14 million to renovate the science buildings (B25, B35, B31 [the B24 is now fully renovated externally]), €12 million for the redevelopment of the Law and Literature Library (A2) and €10 million for the new Chemistry Cluster (replacing the B27).

New passive or positive energy buildings

From now on, the new buildings of the University of Poitiers will be part of an eco-responsible approach, i.e. they must not consume more energy than they produce, they are passive buildings or, at best, they produce more than they consume, they are positive energy buildings.

Recently two new buildings have met these criteria. The new building of the Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy (D2) is passive, and a building on the Niort university campus is positive energy (J5), thanks in particular to the installation of photovoltaic panels.

Adapting the premises according to usage and changing behaviors

In order not to heat empty buildings unnecessarily, individual meters have been installed on each renovated building to regulate temperatures according to use.

An effort has also been made to bring together the so-called teaching rooms, which do not need to be too much heated at night, and those for research, where continuity of use may be necessary.

This pooling now makes it possible to achieve high occupancy rates, particularly for lecture halls, where the rate is 90% on campus, which contributes to better management of energy consumption.

These adaptations also require a lot of awareness-raising work on changing users’ behavior in terms of energy management. An energy manager has also been recruited with three missions: optimizing energy contracts, monitoring and advising on energy during renovation and construction work, and raising user awareness. To this end, his action is complemented by civic service volunteers hired by the University of Poitiers.

Use of renewable energies: biomass and 100% sustainable electricity

Very early on, the University of Poitiers became aware of the importance of energy savings by setting up a heating network with a cogeneration unit in 2000 to avoid the use of coal and fuel oil.

In an effort to move further along this path, the University of Poitiers decided in 2015 to invest in a wood-fired boiler room (via a consortium of orders involving the Region and CROUS), which required a change in the existing network in order to address the problem of heat loss.

This biomass boiler house is supplied with wood chips from forests within a 50 km (≈ 32 mile) radius and provides 87% of the group’s heating needs (almost 100% for the University). At the other sites, heating network solutions of the biomass type (Châtellerault, Futuroscope, Niort and Angouleme) or geothermal energy (Poitiers city center) are planned or under study.

This choice in renewable energies also concerns electricity, with a territorial commitment (order grouping with the University Hospital of Poitiers) which since January 1st has allowed the use of certified renewable electricity (Alterna supplier) for all campuses.

In addition, there are two other complementary challenges: energy sobriety and self-consumption. The University invests in the installation of low-consumption equipment (indoor and outdoor LED lighting, automatic detection, time delay and dimming). It is also experimenting with production devices on its land and buildings (solar hot water, photovoltaic panels and shades) that can also help reduce energy costs.

Substantial energy savings and greenhouse gas emission reductions

The University has carried out its greenhouse gas inventory (BGES registered with ADEME) for which energy and transport are the main emitters. The University’s energy management has already led to significant gains in terms of energy consumption and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Reduction of the energy bill by €500,000 compared to 2017. It rose from €4.5m to €4m, with a target of €3.5m for 2019.
  • 55% reduction in carbon emissions between 2010 and 2017. Reaching the energy factor 4 goal by 2016 (objective set by the State to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4 by 2050). With mobility, the objective is to reduce GHG emissions by 40% by 2030.
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