An eco-district to live in the Pays d’Auge in the 21st century
The current challenges consist in particular in reconciling lifestyles in rural areas and technological, industrial and commercial development. In response to this competition, it therefore seemed essential for Mengeot & Associés to imagine a new rurality. An environment that is both consistent with local identity and concerned with today’s sustainable, social and economic concerns. Without abandoning the local fabric and half-timbering, specific to Normandy, the project therefore proposes to be the laboratory for the implementation of simple construction techniques and environmental devices.
For this eco-district project, what was your approach in terms of sustainable development?
Our response resulted in an impactful bioclimatic approach! The design of the housing unit of this innovative eco-district is based on current environmental logic. It concerns the location and orientation of buildings. Its approach: to allow the 33 housing units created to benefit from an optimal North / South orientation. It is reflected in particular by the multiplication of southern exposures for the living rooms, by avoiding shadow areas and by favoring the contributions of light and heat.
What were the constructive choices for this eco-district project?
The approach here aims to respect the historic site of implantation by reintroducing traditional constructive methods. Thatched roofs, for example, but adapting them, in order to guarantee the objectives of energy excellence. It also results in a wooden frame and unprocessed straw insulation which replaces the traditional half-timbered house.
Why use straw, what are its peculiarities?
Straw used as a construction material certainly has the least impact on the environment, while having a level of insulation higher than the BBC standards (Low Consumption Building). Various fire tests have also proven its reliability with a resistance greater than more than 900 ° C. To ensure its longevity, interior and exterior plasters are added. The latter, allowing water vapor to pass through, offer the walls a major regulatory function. They absorb moisture when it is too high and release it when the air dries up. Ideal comfort conditions are therefore obtained.
And visually, what is the highlight of the project?
It is the thatched roof, traditionally present in the Pays d’Auge, because it is visible to all. it printed the project in everyone’s mind! Its level of insulation, obtained with a thickness of 30 cm, is also particularly interesting.
What types of accommodation are available?
Thanks to a social and generational factors mix, 3 different typologies will be available from 2 to 4 pieces. There are also twinnings which allow a certain scalability of the 3 and 4 rooms. The rehabilitation of the existing one, that is to say 3 half-timbered farm buildings, also gives the possibility of anchoring the project in its identity.
What were your principles for this conception of the habitat?
This conception of the habitat is illustrated first of all by an economy of the grounds through the search for maximum conservation of the permeability and the simplest roadway. Here the main road serves a maximum of plots. Collective energy translates into heat recovery in a small biogas plant on site for local energy production. Its principle is to use the dual benefit of composting plant waste. This controlled combustion heating solution, while generating energy, will develop CO2, which will reduce its impact on the environment. All of the housing units therefore meet the requirements of a passive building.
And to conclude ?
This project affirms the main stake of the communes of France for the future: to follow the evolution of the company while keeping the local specificities. This new eco-district combines the modernization of traditional techniques together with logical systems and technological devices resulting from current issues on the environment and our consumption of space and soil.