Monday, 25 October 2010

Eco-chantier en Eco-habitat

Stéphane plastering over the chaux-chanvre wall he made.
This weekend just gone was open house for our friends Stéphane and Valérie. Not because their house is on the market - far from it - but because they are involved in the eco-chantier en eco-habitat programme. This means that they are doing up their house using many traditional techniques as well as modern methods which take into account sustainable practices. Valérie has just started a new job, and I know is very busy, but when I expressed sympathy at the thought of having to make the house presentable for le grand public, she said 'Oh no, I enjoy it!'

A close up of the chaux-chanvre surface.
Based in Chambray, the Alter'Energies association wants to promote new lifestyles, consumption and construction in order to reduce environmental footprints and encourage social equality. Eco-construction is one of three strands of activities that they concern themselves with (the other two are sustainable energy sources and sustainable agriculture).This weekend was the first open house event they have organised, and was designed to raise awareness of the organisation and the issues they are involved with. Fourteen homeowners across the département opened their doors to the public to show a variety of 'green' building techniques: straw bale construction, cotton waste insulation, chaux-chanvre (lime render with hemp for binding and insulation), pit toilets, reed or willow bed waste water treatment, mud bricks. The owners welcomed visitors and were on hand to explain their approach and share their experiences. The main objective is to create a constructive exchange about sustainable housing practices.

Stéphane applied the chaux-chanvre carefully around the
window to show off some big, well cut stones.

Susan

4 comments:

chm said...

I love the window and the beams. "Chaux-chanvre" is interesting. Is it efficient?

Simon said...

chm. chaux-chanvre is not as efficient as glass wool, but it does give the room a nice feel, and breathes properly.

Tim said...

Thanks Susan for putting this up.... Pauline et moi were two of Stéphane and Valerie's visitors.... it is very nice to see the early stages of what is an exceedingly attractive room. Pauline and I had been toying with the idea of chaux/chanvre for the inner walls that connect with the outside world.... and having seen A&V's house and work we are convinced.
I asked Stéphane how he managed to work on theirs when doing yours... and he informed me that he will be only working for you for seven hours now, not ten!! That gives hime three hours a day to work on their project [and what a project! Personally I think they are very brave.]

Susan said...

Tim: Stéphane mentioned you had visited. I am regularly amazed at how much energy they have and how much time they give to community projects on top of their own projects (and us, of course). BTW, Stéphane was pulling your leg about working for us 10 hours a day.