Construction of a low-carbon student hall of residence

The Clémence Royer student hall of residence built by Crédit Agricole Immobilier blends meeting the need for affordable rented accommodation with a strong environmental commitment to combating climate change. In both construction and operational phases, certified low-carbon buildings are iconic projects in terms of low emissions. Comfortable, well-insulated and soundproofed, this hall of residence also offers innovative everyday services, including car sharing.

Main project's drivers for reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

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Energy and resource conservation

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Decarbonisation of energy

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Improvements in energy efficiency

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Improvements in non-energy resource efficiency

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Emission removal

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Financing of low-carbon issuers, or divestment from carbon-emitting assets

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Reduction of other greenhouse gases emission

Project objectives

To meet the demand for student accommodation via a hall of residence with a low carbon footprint (both for construction and operationally)

Detailed project description

The Clémence Royer hall of residence reflects the consensus between the property developer and the planning authority to build a more sustainable city, helping provide accommodation for all:


– Open up the district of Le Luzard

– Expand the diversity of functional uses in the urban area

– Lead by example in terms of environmental responsibility.


This 6-storey, entirely timber-structured building was one of the first 15 buildings to secure France’s BBCA (low-carbon building) label when this particular certification came into force in March 2016.


The building is also H&E certified (the French Habitat & Environment scheme) under profile A**.

This student hall of residence is a real blend of the social and environmental, and also demonstrates the need to seek out innovative solutions in terms of both design and construction, in this case combining re-use of the existing foundations with the use of CLT panels.

Covering 6,302 m², the hall of residence comprises 230 student rooms over six floors, premises for the hall warden, a lodge for the caretaker, a common room and various other areas (laundry room, a bins area, etc.).

Students live in well-equipped, furnished studios averaging 20 m² in size.

The warden’s and caretaker’s premises are also furnished (bed, desk, table, shelves, lights) and fitted with a kitchenette with a fridge and hobs.


The development has an environmental focus, in its construction and operational phases alike.


Sustainable construction

By re-using the foundations of a factory previously on the site, the project was designed to be low-carbon from the outset, with no waste produced by demolition. Making use of the existing structure avoided generating CO2 from building new foundations.


CLT panels to store carbon

The timber panels were prefabricated, built and assembled in a factory then erected on the site of the building. This enabled the construction duration to be remarkably short, and the carbon footprint unusually small, with reduced disruption to nearby residents. This lightweight, durable solution, 100% recyclable, offers students highly effective soundproofing and heat insulation.


Operational efficiency

The development is H&E certified (the French Habitat & Environment scheme) under profile A as per the 2012 version of the benchmarks, updated in March 2014.

In terms of energy performance, the target for the development was to match the level of the RT2012 French energy regulation standard minus 10% within the meaning of the H&E standard for the accommodation, and RT2012 minus 10% for the building as a whole. To be eligible for Ile-de-France regional subsidies, the hall of residence also had to source a minimum of 30% of its heating and domestic hot water requirements from renewable energy via the Soraya system.


Electricity supply options:

The site on which the hall of residence is built has no gas supply. A combination of effective electricity supply systems therefore had to be considered. The energy supply feasibility study showed the most appropriate option to be a heat pump using heat from the CMV system’s exhaust air to produce domestic hot water. The heating, meanwhile, is provided by heating panels, which have the advantage of bringing immediate comfort and being individually controlled for each room. Thanks to the effectiveness of the lagging (bioclimatic needs at less than half the regulatory maximum), this combination of systems means the building reaches the RT2012-10% target level.


Smart services for students

Various services are provided to students, including a smart laundry. A smartphone app allows students to see whether washing machines are available without leaving their room, and to be notified when their washing cycle has finished. In addition, the common room allows students to network, and can be used for co-working. The hall benefits from the presence of a hall warden, who lives on-site, and deals with individual requests from the students. Lastly, students are offered a car-sharing service, in partnership with Glide. Two vehicles are available, booked and used solely by means of an app.

Emission scope(s)

on which the project has a significant impact

Scope 1

Direct emissions generated by the company's activity.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions associated with the company's electricity and heat consumption.

Scope 3

Emissions induced (upstream or downstream) by the company's activities, products and/or services in its value chain.

Emission Removal

Carbon sinks creation, (BECCS, CCU/S, …)

Avoided Emissions

Emissions avoided by the activities, products and/or services in charge of the project, or by the financing of emission reduction projects.

Scope 3 – Construction work

  • -970 kg CO2/m² (compared with a conventional solution)    

Scope 3 – Heating system with heat pump

  • Quantification:

    373 kg CO2/m² (compared with a conventional solution) for operations

Emission removal – Use of CLT panels

  • Quantification:
  • 60.5 kg CO2/m² stored

Un bâtiment avec un système constructif classique en béton rejette quant à lui en moyenne 1,5 tonne de carbone par m² SDP.

Key points

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Invested amount

7,7 millions d’euros HT

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Starting date of the project


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Project localisation

Noisiel, Seine et Marne

Project maturity level

Prototype laboratory test (TRL 7)

Real life testing (TRL 7-8)

Pre-commercial prototype (TRL 9)

Small-scale implementation

Medium to large scale implementation

Economic profitability of the project (ROI)

Short term (0-3 years)

Middle term (4-10 years)

Long term (> 10 years)

Illustrations of the project

The Clémence Royer hall of residence provides high quality, environmentally-friendly accommodation at a reasonable price to students, a group that often struggles to find accommodation.

Aimed in particular at students at Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée university (11,000 students) in the heart of the Paris-Vallée de la Marne conurbation, the hall is ideally located for students to reach the university campus in under 15 minutes by public transport (suburban railway RER line A).

The choice of name for the hall of residence is also significant, Clémence Royer being a 19th century French philosopher and scientist. She was a renowned feminist and free-thinker at the end of the 19th century.

Crédit Agricole Immobilier also built the Liv’In Bussy residential complex of 221 housing units in Bussy Saint Georges where timber was selected for the construction. This complex also received a BBCA Trophies low-carbon award.

The property developer is also involved in other low-carbon tertiary and residential construction projects in Ile-de-France and other regions of France:

Consequently, to redevelop the Porte de Montreuil district, the C40 and Paris city council chose the urban development project sponsored by the consortium of Nexity, Engie’s property development subsidiary Aire Nouvelle, and Crédit Agricole Immobilier. In response to the many redevelopment challenges posed by the district, the consortium opted to transform the place de la Porte de Montreuil into a decarbonised district by 2023. The consortium and the architects they appointed designed modular buildings: They are reversible, and can be converted into offices or housing. 80% of the materials used are from the surrounding Ile-de-France region with local raw earth, stone, timber and hemp concrete and all buildings powered by geothermal energy and a portion of the electricity generated by biosolar roofs. In terms of energy consumption, all the buildings will be powered geothermally with some of the electricity generated on-site by means of 3,000 m2 of biosolar roofs.

With the “Nanterre Partagée” project, Crédit Agricole Immobilier, Icade and Novaxia, alongside CDU, were selected by the Métropole du Grand Paris (Greater Paris combined local authority) to redevelop the CASH hospital site in Nanterre. Key features of the scheme are energy performance, optimised management of rainwater and a low-carbon strategy. Materials from demolished buildings will be reused to construct the new buildings and Zinc-air batteries, an EDF innovation, will be used to store the energy generated by the photovoltaic panels.

The signing of a partnership agreement by Crédit Agricole Property and Pacifica, the non-life insurance subsidiary of Crédit Agricole Assurances for the low-carbon construction of twenty buildings for claims handling, is also part of the socially-responsible real-estate policy followed, from an energy and environmental point of view. Construction on six of the 2,000 m2 buildings has already started, at Caen, Dijon, Grenoble, Saint Etienne, La Roche-sur-Yon and Montpellier.

  • Project owner: Crédit Agricole Immobilier, EFIDIS (now CDC Habitat)
  • Architect: Gera Architecture
  • Consulting engineers: Géra’nium Environnement (environmental technical consulting engineers)
  • Construction company: Poulingue (timber house builder)
  • Low-carbon certificate issuer: Cerqual
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Contact the company carrying the project :

Catherine Pouliquen – Directrice RSE Crédit Agricole Immobilier

Crédit Agricole’s other projects :