The ecological side

 

   The preservation of the heritage of the mountains, towns and villages in our region is something important that we have to respect.  It is our duty to leave a clean environment for future generations and ensure that our impact is as light as possible. Our belief is based on respect for nature.

 

   Wherever possible we use materials available locally, particularly those which are produced ecologically. This also applies to tradesmen and craftsmen who work according to these principles.

Materials
Energy

   Wherever possible we use materials available locally, particularly those which are produced ecologically. This also applies to tradesmen and craftsmen who work according to these principles.

 

   Most materials are local; the walls are covered with lime and sand only to let them breath, and control humidity. The flooring consists of paving stones and the screeds are made with lime, sand, and balls of clay. As the ground floor is lower than the garden, the house works as a cocoon and doesn't lose heat from the ground. The flooring is covered in natural stone and then painted with linseed oil and oil made from soya.

 

   The roof is made from larch and pine cut in a local sawmill. It is insulated with 30cm of sheep's wool from local herds.

 

   All the roof joints have strengthened insulation (4/16/4cm). All the wood comes from environmentally-managed forests or from local larch wood.

 

   The furniture is recycled or home made with local wood.

  

   There is a small wooden house (the studio) , painted with home-made paint, using linseed oil, and is partially insulated on the inside with sawdust and lime. The flooring is also painted with special organic oil. This house sits on "Cyclopean" foundations: stones, sand and lime.

  

   All the household products are organic or home-made locally. 

 

   The food comes mainly from local producers. The rest is bought in the organic grocer's shop in the village or comes from organic networks.

 

   We respect the rustic aspect of the environment and we would like to always have this feeling of timelessness.

 

  Electricity is supplied by six solar panels generating 1KW, which is stored in batteries and used when we need it. There is no connection to the electricity grid, nor the phone or internet networks. Because of the limited power supply we have chosen to disable certain household electrical implements, in particular those needing resistance. The washing machine is fed by a gas generator, and uses water collected from the chalet roof. The washing powder is home made with ashes from the stove.

 

Heating

   A solar greenhouse provides the heating when the sun is shining. It is stored then within the stone walls which are 40cm thick and restored in the evening (8 hours later).  

 

   When it is snowing or raining, or even in the evening, heating is provided by a stove (Turbo DEOM N.2) in which local wood is burnt. It complements the heat from the greenhouse, and works with a turbo system which blows air into the center of the fire to boost it and to ensure intense heat and complete combustion. In this way we avoid the condensation of gas and the deposit of soot in the stove and the pipes.  There is no risk of toxic gas accumulation.

 

   We enjoy warming our meals and making sandwichs, raclette and even cooking eggs on the top of the stove!

   The house isn't linked to the mains supply, so rainwater is the only source feeding the household. It's stored in a 7m deep underground tank and is pumped up to other tanks above the level of the house. We try to minimize its use. A system of solar water heating is installed to supply hot water. 

 

   Waste water (other than WC) passes through a purifying system, using march plants. The terminal tub contains fish and feeds the kitchen garden.

Waste

  The dry toilets work with sawdust instead of water. We empty them once a week into the compost heap, along with most of the organic waste from the kitchen and the garden.  Composting takes  two years, after which it is used as a fertilizer for our olive trees.

The kitchen garden

   In 2013, we decided to start the kitchen garden with the help of expert friends. With a tractor from the CUMA,  an agricultural cooperative in the village of Sospel, we ploughed the ground before planting. We are looking forward to enjoying our veggies!

The water heater

   We have a brand new solar water heater. It has several glass tubes painted in black. The sun then heats up the cold water coming inside those tubes. It should be working from march to november.

We host workawayers!

Workaway is an international hospitality service that allows members to contact one another to organise homestays and cultural exchange. Volunteers or "Workawayers", are expected to contribute a pre-agreed amount of time per day in exchange for lodging and food, which is provided by their host.

The world's leading community for sustainable travel and cultural exchange.

Promoting Volunteering, Family Exchanges, Homestays, Farmstays, Working Holidays, Travel Buddies, Language Learning and Cultural Exchange.

Please, contact us for details. We can host you from april to october.

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tel : +33.6.24.60.41.86                                          mail :jar_art@yahoo.com                                 © Gaïa Luna 2014

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