What is an eco-guesthouse?
La Rassada is an environmentally friendly property both in its construction and also in the way it is managed.
When I converted the property from an old winemaking barn, it was important to me that the building should be both healthy to live in and healthy for the environment.
Eco-construction is a choice, and one that may on the surface appear to be more expensive, but it is really a matter of priorities... for me the choice was easy - quality construction with eco-friendly materials being more important than fancy internal doors or an expensive kitchen! Total cost was barely 10% more than a standard renovation of this type.
- Good design and proper insulation= reduced heating costs.
- La Rassada was designed with glazed doors and a big bay window facing south and southwest, which means that even in winter the sun heats up the house quite quickly.
- The ceiling has 120mm of insulation - but I was able to re-use the original canal tiles in order to retain the original character of the barn.
- Exterior and interior walls are insulated with 80mm thick hemp wool.
- All windows, glazed doors and roof windows are double-glazed. Modern double-glazing includes a treatment that allows more UV to pass through in the winter and less in the summer.
- Eco-paints have been used (some hand coloured with pigments!) throughout - avoiding the use and presence of solvents.
- Solar hot water panels, which provide about 85% of La Rassada's annual hot water requirements. Even on grey days the solar system pre-heats the water, which then only requires a top up from the electric immersion heater.
- A "horizontal geothermal" heating system using a heat pump to transfer heat taken from the ground (by a horizontal network of pipes filled with argon gas under the parking area) into the under-floor network of hot water pipes. Approx. 4kw of heat produced from each 1kw used to run the heat pump.
- Wood burner for chilly evenings! France has plenty of forests and selling wood for heating helps pay for the sustainable management of these.
- Eco-friendly cleaning products and detergents are used throughout the property, as well as soaps and shampoo provided for guests. These have the combined advantage of being kinder to the environment and also being far less allergenic. I buy all these products in bulk to reduce the packaging.
- We recycle glass, plastic, tins, paper and cardboard.
- Meals are prepared with local and preferably organic produce - reducing the direct impact on the environment from pesticides and herbicides and also reducing the food miles! Buying local ensures that we are eating "in season" and also helps support small producers from the local community.
- Spring water straight from the tap! Our village water comes directly from a spring after particle and UV filtration to make it safe and delicious to drink and wash with.
- Reed-bed village sewerage treatment system.
So book a holiday at La Rassada knowing that we are doing everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint - without compromising on your comfort!