Rehabilitation of a 19th century paper mill into a media library

  • Building Type : Library, documentation center
  • Construction Year : 1857
  • Delivery year : 2016
  • Address 1 - street : 21 rue de l'Usine 82700 MONTECH, France
  • Climate zone : [Cfb] Marine Mild Winter, warm summer, no dry season.

  • Net Floor Area : 1 000 m2
  • Construction/refurbishment cost : 1 645 000 €
  • Cost/m2 : 1645 €/m2

Proposed by :

Certifications :

  • Primary energy need :
    57 kWhep/
    (Calculation method : RT existant )
Energy consumption
Economical buildingBuilding
< 50A
51 à 90B
91 à 150C
151 à 230D
231 à 330E
331 à 450F
> 450G
Energy-intensive building

This project aimed to rehabilitate a former paper mill in the Tarn-et-Garonne whose buildings had been unused since 1968. An extension had been added to the 1873 building, so the project includes the complete renovation of two buildings and the extension.

A large-scale renovation

The condition of the building was rather degraded: the framework, the purlin, the rafters, the mechanical tile roofing and the wooden joinery were in poor condition. The building was made of clay bricks and had no thermal insulation or heating system. In addition, its layout was typical of 19th century industrial buildings, with large volumes and wide openings.

An architectural and energy programme

As a candidate for the Midi-Pyrénées region and ADEME Occitanie call for projects "Economical buildings of environmental quality in the Midi-Pyrénées", the project owner focused on reducing the building's energy consumption and on using bio-sourced materials for its renovation. The objective was also to preserve the architecture of the building, in particular the brick walls, the volumes and the openings.

This work enabled the initial consumption of 381 kWhep/m2.year to be reduced to 57 kWhep/m2.year.

Result: a low-carbon cultural centre

The building currently houses a media library, a games library, a cyberbase and an exhibition room. The different spaces are defined by sliding systems, but which still allow a certain flexibility. This heritage renovation meets the BBC Rénovation objectives, i.e. 40% less energy consumption than the RT reference.


See more details about this project

Data reliability

3rd part certified


    Communauté de communes de Garonne et Canal

Construction Manager



Owner approach of sustainability

The client has particularly focused on energy performance as well as on biobased materials to conceptualize this building.

A lot of work has been done on the wood joinery: the existing ones have all been renovated and others have also been added. Aluminum joinery was installed: triple glazing (Uw = 1.1 W / m2.K) for the north wall and double glazing (Uw = 1.5 W / m2.K) on the other walls. Against heat loss, airlocks have been designed at the glazed entrances to the building.

The insulation of the west and east facing walls is made of bio-based materials (30% hemp fibers, 60% wood fiber and 10% textile fibers). To fit out the interior of the building, an internal structure in poured concrete accentuates the inertia of the building and creates a nice contrast with the bricks. The furniture and the stairs are made of wood.

Architectural description

The architectural ambition was first of all to preserve the heritage spirit of the building. For this, the long lengths of the old paper mill have been preserved and at the level of the outer walls, the original bricks have not been changed, only brushed and repointed.

Regarding the high floor, the mechanical tile roofing as well as the frame, purlins and rafters have been changed. The farms have been preserved. The ceiling is insulated with rock wool (2 x 100 mm and 30 mm black rock wool).

The low floor is a carried floor, with a 20cm concrete slab and an 8.5cm cork underside insulation. This makes up all the walls in contact with the exterior, but it can be seen at the level of the brick pillars. However, the aluminum joinery brings a certain modernity to the architecture of the building.

Energy consumption

  • 57,00 kWhep/
  • RT existant

    Ep consumption concerns the media library

  • 381,00 kWhep/


    • Individual gas boiler
    • Heat pump
    • Water radiator
    • Low temperature floor heating
    • Solar thermal
    • Other hot water system
    • No cooling system
    • Free-cooling
    • Double flow heat exchanger
    • Solar Thermal
    • Heat pump

    The heating of the building is provided by the underfloor heating present throughout the building and water radiators for regulation by use. The water which circulates in the floor and the radiators is heated thanks to three devices: a water / water heat pump + a solar concentrator positioned on the roof of the extension + a back-up gas boiler which makes it possible to supplement the two other devices do not achieve the desired temperature in the building.
    As the DHW needs are low, electric cumulus clouds have been installed near the sanitary facilities.
    The ventilation is coupled with a BMS which manages the opening of the windows for night ventilation.

    The water / water heat pump uses water from the canal. It sends water at 45 ° C to the underfloor heating and water at 70 ° C to the radiators (which can be regulated). The solar concentrator heats a heat transfer fluid, which itself will heat the water in the heating circuit thanks to an exchanger.

Urban environment

The building is located near the lateral canal to the Garonne, the construction of which was completed in 1856.

The surroundings of this media library were also worked on during the work. A pool was created behind the building which communicates with the canal, thus allowing the use of water as a cold source for the heat pump (PAC). Visitors can enjoy the outdoor spaces because a terrace is reserved for them.

Building Environmental Quality

  • indoor air quality and health
  • comfort (visual, olfactive, thermal)
  • water management
  • energy efficiency
  • renewable energies
  • products and materials
  • This project concerning the return to service of an existing building to current energy standards, it is therefore in fact sustainable.
  • We chose bio-based materials for the insulation, the furniture and the stairs are made of wood.
  • A heat pump and a solar concentrator have been installed to heat the building;
  • This project meets the BBC Rénovation objectives: 40% reduction in energy consumption compared to the RT reference.

Contest categories

Energie & Climats Tempérés

Energie & Climats Tempérés

Green Solutions Awards 2020-2021 / France

 heritage renovation
 energy performance

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    Green Solutions Awards 2020-2021 / France