By Melanie Sparfel
After two years of construction, Cécile and Owen White moved in with their children in July 2018, in a large house in the heart of the countryside of Campeneac (Morbihan). A beautiful building of 160m2 on a plot of 3000 m2. What is special about this house? She is energy self-sufficient. This family thus demonstrated anticipation and foresight in a context of energy and climate crisis.
An ecological project
This property, consisting of a residential house part, as well as two professional premises with his artist’s studio and his spouse’s office, is the result of a long-standing project for the couple.
“We had been researching for years to build an ecological and autonomous house. Also, in 2012, the couple, accompanied by their children, left for a trip “around the world”.
“We made this trip as a family to see ecological places to live, to glean information and experience. »
It was in 2016 that they found the ideal land and began construction, “not in the town, but not isolated either”.
A necessary “degrowth”
If everyone is interested today in climate issues and energy transition, Cécile White assures us that “we have been aware of it for years. We believe in the eventual need for people to be more self-sufficient in their livelihoods. For the mother of the family, it is also an example for their children.
“It is possible to live in a self-contained house without it being a yurt. We oscillate between 4 and 6 people, with the children, to live in this house. It’s not discomfort, just some effort. »
Construction and consumption
“We self-built part of the house with a greb technique, it is easy to set up. » Wooden rods, much lighter than a beam, form a grid which gives the frame of the wall. The straw that serves as insulation is slipped into the light wooden frame.
The plaster bracing is then placed on the straw, “which allows the house to be held together”. She also specifies that the straw insulation of the walls and the wood wool in the roof make it possible not to be too hot in summer, nor too cold in winter, on the contrary, “it creates good thermal inertia“.
With this house equipped with12 solar panelsthe household’s main source of electricity, and a storage capacity of 3 kW, it ensures that ” it is possible in Brittany “. However, if solar energy is sufficient almost all year round, it may happen that the family uses a generator.
“We don’t use 3 kW per day. But in winter, if there is no sun for 3 days, the batteries will drain, we will have consumed everything. To avoid this, when the batteries are half full, we complete the recharge with batteries by running a generator for one or two hours. »
The family is also autonomous in waterthanks to a rainwater collection tank with a capacity of 28,000 litres: “All the roofs are connected to an underground concrete tank. »
For heating, the choice fell on the pellet stove, which is also a boiler stove that can heat water. “The water is heated by solar panels in summer, and by a stove in winter. ”
This life choice involves a daily monitoring of energy consumption.
“You have to be a little more aware of what you use in this house. For example, if I start a laundry, the electric pump sends the water. If I start ironing at the same time, it can jump. »
In the same concern, the couple chose to build only one bathroom to limit water consumption, “and we don’t spend hours in the shower”.
To everyone ?
A priori, building a house is not innate. This is why the couple participated in training courses, but “it remains within everyone’s reach” assures Cécile White.
If they built a lot of things themselves, such as the parquet, external service providers came to consolidate the project: for the framework and the framework, it is the company Echopaille de Questembertand for the electric autonomy system, it is the company GR Energies of Merdrignac who intervened.
“There are a lot of companies, competent people in the area who know how to do. “No need to go to the end of the world, she adds.
If there is a ” construction cost » with the solar panels, the batteries, the stove, the regulator, or even the water collection tank, the savings that follow make it possible todampen construction
“It later affects energy costs. »
Over a year, the family spends 400€ in purchase of pelletsand 150€ for supplements gas or gasoline to operate the generator if necessary. “It’s a matter of choice,” concludes Cécile White.
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