Energy-efficient school buildings in Seine-Saint-Denis, France

10 new secondary schools, modernisation/redevelopment of 12 more, and energy-efficiency improvements for a further 14.

Total project cost: EUR 499 million; EIB loan: up to EUR 240 million.

Although the population of France as a whole is growing at around 0.4% per annum, in the Département of Seine-Saint-Denis, the sixth largest in France, the rate is 0.8%. Within ten years, the population will have increased by 200 000, and more than 30% of the population will be less than 20 years old. Seine-Saint-Denis is also characterised by below-average levels of adult literacy, an above-average proportion of non-native French speakers, and relative poverty. To help meet these challenges, the education authorities are bringing the existing school stock up to date, and building ten new secondary schools.

The physical objective is to create 5 450 pupil places in new buildings, and 6 230 more places through the upgrading and better utilisation of existing buildings. To operate the new schools, an additional 480 full-time equivalent staff will be employed, mainly teachers. The new schools to be built will meet “Nearly Zero-Energy Building” standards, and the works on the fourteen existing school buildings, with their emphasis on energy efficiency, will allow an average 45% reduction in energy consumption. This is equivalent to avoiding 580 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year. However, while the energy savings are important for society, and will make education more affordable, the critical objective is to improve the success rate of pupils leaving the schools. At present, 80% of school leavers achieve the Diplôme national du Brevet, against a national average of 86%; mainly due to the socio-economic context of the Département. The EIB’s investments in educational resources aim to improve the life prospects of the individuals attending these schools, and their communities as a whole.

Working together, the EIB and the Département developed a project which supports the objectives of both organisations and which is fully aligned with EU policies. The investment makes a 100% contribution to the EIB’s innovation and skills objective, whilst also supporting the Bank’s climate action objective, with 63% of the project cost directly related to energy efficiency. With the support of the EIB, the Département will be able to implement its development plan at an affordable cost and within the desired timescale. The value added of the EIB’s involvement lies in the provision of long-term financing at attractive interest rates to a financially constrained but fast-growing Département:helping it address social challenges by improving the physical conditions of compulsory schooling.