Located on the shores of the Gulf de Morbihan in Brittany, France, a.typique Patrice BIDEAU Architects designed a green energy home that incorporated a natural chemical free swimming pool installed before the home was built. The pool keeps to an almost rectangular formation with a few undulations curving through both long sides for a more natural profile that is further enhanced by the zeroscape landscaping that surrounds it. Extending at right angles from the home, it is accessed by a deck that wraps the backside of the residence. As an additional green feature, a large, fenced vegetable garden is located on the east.
The deck creates an outdoor living space that is accessed from both the kitchen and the wood framed conservatory. This side of the home is a southwest exposure and is perfectly situated for the winter garden housed within the conservatory. The conservatory has a polycarbonate roof, double glazed panels and a wooden sub-frame.
Slatted, sliding shutters made of wood and interior zones of stones, as well as broken slates and shrubs are designed to absorb extra heat in the winter. The shutters are opened up in the summer so that natural breezes can cool down the interior volumes. The garden is also designed to provide extra protection by being a buffer from the westerly winds. To continue the theme of rock zones or rooms, casual decking creates hallways between the small bistro area on the left and lounge area on the right.
The house is located in the northwest section of the property allowing as much space as possible for the garden and terrace. The walls of the house are 145/45 wood frame with 145mm Rockwool insulation standing on a concrete floor which covers crawlspace foundations composed of 200mm polystyrene slabs and a 50mm layer of extra insulation designed to limit linear thermal transfer. The home is topped off with a 45D pitched roof covered in natural schistose slates. There is a zinc clad, arched dormer window used for storing wood and the roof is insulated with 300 mm Rockwool. The vertical framework and pitch have a steam brake, twice tested for efficiency to insure air-tightness.
The wood frame garage located at the front of the home also has an arched zinc roof and its overhang provides shelter for the main entrance. The front of the home faces north to conserve energy and here, for extra energy conservation, windows are kept to a minimum. Built with concrete breeze-blocks left unclad in the interior and insulated with a wood frame add-on, a 120mmm layer of Rockwool and cladding on the outside, this wall and the adjoining partitions support the wood floor while its intense thermal inertia controls temperatures, contributing to the comfort in both winter and summer.
The interior of the home is outfitted with energy efficient lighting and tile floors for heat absorption. There is a back up heating system in the form of a 6kW wood burning stove plus high performance fluid-filled radiators for an efficiency rating of between 80 and 90 kWhpe/m2 per year, which conforms to the French THPE (very high energy performance) label.
This house was inspired by both David Pearson’s “GAIA Charter” and the opportunity to create an eco-friendly habitat and is an example of how modern materials, creative design and forward thinking can deliver on both a comfortable and earth friendly design that is as user friendly as it is beautiful.
Photography by Armel ISTINH