For many years, Blois has been striving to reduce its adverse impact on the environment and combat the global warming associated with human activities. Attaining these objectives requires thoughtful use of energy.
Blois Has Been Reconsidering Energy Use for Close to Forty Years
As early as 1980, Blois set up an energy department. Ever since its creation, this service has been endeavoring to provide the town with a different approach to energy use. In 1985, it spearheaded the installation of an innovative geothermal system in the ancient grain market (Halle aux grains).
Over the years, the evolving scientific consensus on climate change has confirmed the need to thoroughly reconsider the way we use energy resources. Before “Cop 21” or the enactment of statutory obligations, in 2012 Blois concretized its action plan with its “Agenda 21”, which was subsequently supplemented by a plan-climate-air-energy-transport (PACET), drawn up on the scale of the Blois conurbation.
The Eco-heating Networks: Investing to Economize
Ever since the 1960s, Blois has been equipped with an eco-network supplying heating and hot water for sanitary use in the Bégon and Croix-Chevalier neighborhoods. Regularly officially recognized, the furnace is supplied by products drawn from regional sawmills (barks, chips and sawdust).
In 2016, a second eco-heating network came into operation for the Provinces and Laplace neighborhoods, areas in which numerous public buildings are concentrated. It is practically entirely powered (96%) by energy recovered from the local incineration plant, dividing by up to five the quantity of fossil fuel previously consumed by heating and hot water for sanitary purposes.
Lower Bills and Environmental Objectives Attained Before the Target Date
Household bills have gone down since the networks were put into place, and the corresponding VAT has been lowered to 5.5% due to the large portion of renewable energy utilized. As regards the town’s ecological indicators, 30% of the energy produced in 2018 was renewable thanks to the two networks, a proportion largely superior to the objective of 23%… for 2020 put forward at the Grenelle environment forum.
The Optimization of Existing Facilities: a Simple Solution
Improvement of existing infrastructures is the simplest and least expensive means of achieving economies of scale in energy. Since 2009, more than 500,000 euros have been earmarked by the town to reduction of its equipment’s carbon footprint, through insulation and a constant search for potential sources of energy saving.
The conurbation community of Blois, Agglopolys, is proposing Rénov’énergie, a platform facilitating initiatives and the realization of projects aimed at energy refurbishment for individual housing units: advice, support for the projects, financial assistance, etc. The platform is aimed at combatting energy insecurity, reducing energy consumption and encouraging local craftsmanship.
Lights Out at Night: a Luminous Idea
Mainstreamed at a time when energy was inexpensive, night lights in public places finally became too financially and environmentally costly. In 2012, the town decided to replace bulbs with more efficient models and to darken certain areas from midnight to 4:30 A.M. Since that time, 70 tons of carbon dioxide and 50,000 € a year have been economized. Nocturnal shutdown presents several advantages:
limitation of light pollution;
reduced impact on biodiversity;
improved quality of sleep, due to diminution of intrusive light;
rediscovery of the starry sky;
reduced carbon dioxide emissions;
enhanced showcasing of the areas remaining lit.
Blois and its conurbation, a positive energy territory
Blois and its conurbation have been awarded the label of “positive energy territories for green growth” (TEPCV). With the label, in 2015 the French state recognized the concrete actions carried out by the two communities in favor of ongoing energy transition and provided a budget of 2,000,000 € to contribute to the financing of local projects (insulation of schools and public buildings, energy efficiency of public lighting, rehabilitation of abandoned land, creation of bike lanes, landscape planning, bicycle rental, installation of a wind turbine in the town’s technical center, etc.).