By Thierry Roussin
Due to the fairly random management of heating in schools, returning from All Saints holidays, the pupils of Rouen have found classes at 11°. It took two days to return to a normal temperature of 19°. What seriously cool the relationship between the City and parents of students who have even decided to keep their children at home as long as the situation was not acceptable.
The assistant in charge of the file justified herself by explaining that it is necessary to control energy expenditure… and think about putting on sweaters.
19° in all classes
In the Eagle Country“in accordance with government directives, we have sent a letter to schools to ensure that the temperature is 19° in the classrooms”, assures Veronique HelleuxVice-President of the Community of Communes in charge of school affairs.
A school asked the pupils to come with a shawl to possibly be a little warmer. For the moment we have no feedback from dissatisfied parents, but it must be said that it is not very cold at the moment and it is not difficult to stay at 19°.
In some schools, temperature management in the classrooms is automatic. “For others, it is the staff who intervene and everyone is made aware of the need to control costs by maintaining the required temperature”.
Except that this approach is hampered by the obligation to ventilate the classes to fight against the risks of Covid-19. “We air out for ten minutes several times a day, when the students are not in class, and it’s true that it’s a bit contradictory with our search for economy”, analyzes Véronique Helleux.
So the community could be tempted to turn off the heating during weekends and holidays. “But it is a bad calculation”, account the vice-president, “because it can cost more to return to 19° than to maintain at an average temperature”. In the Pays de L’Aigle schools, there should therefore be no shivering pupils this winter.
In colleges, it is at the discretion of the principal
In public colleges Dolto and Moliere, students should also not have cold fingers and feet during class. “There are no directives imposed by the Departmental Council on establishments”, indicates Philippe Van-Hoorne. The departmental councilor of L’Aigle explains that “we leave the management of heating to the discretion of the heads of establishments, they are responsible for the process, while asking them to ensure that students and staff work in good conditions “.
However, the principals of the colleges have very clear instructions to save energy by making sure to turn off the lights and the computers at the end of the day. “Each head of establishment is made aware and it is up to each of them to get the message across”, adds Philippe Van-Hoorne.
The Region expects a colossal bill
To the Normandy region, we are very worried about the situation in the 156 public high schools it manages. “50 million euros is the cost of the rise in energy prices, it is more than the overall operating grant for all the establishments in Normandy”, alert Bertrand Deniaud, Vice-President of the Regional Council. Already, the relief fund of €3 million to help high schools has been absorbed and in December a vote should make it possible to provide for a larger endowment. “We adapt as closely as possible to the needs of high schools”, continues the member of the permanent committee of the Regional Council.
Even if the objective is to ensure good working conditions for students and staff, the floodgates are not wide open.
We recently organized a video meeting with all high school principals to share experience and, even if one establishment does not do the other, put in place common practices.
For example, it is decided to maintain a temperature of 19° in the classrooms. At 7 p.m., all the computers are turned off, “it’s a habit that we had lost, but in terms of energy saving in all high schools, this has significant effects”.
Five or ten minutes of ventilation of the classes?
Like Véronique Helleux for the schools in the territory, Bertrand Deniaud is annoyed by the paradox of the ventilation of the classes, 10 minutes every hour.
It has been observed that if we ventilate for 10 minutes we lose heat, whereas if we ventilate for only 5 minutes nothing is lost. We are therefore going to ask the State if it is not possible to practice in this way.
To transform establishments into buildings with the lowest possible consumption, the Region has allocated 584 million euros from 2017 to 2022 and will put in place a new investment program for 2023-2028. Among these notable efforts, 17 million are used to change boilers.
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