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What is an "ecological house"?


The expression "ecological house" does not for the moment refer to any official definition, but covers very real and fashionable concepts. Following the principle of sustainable development, the ecological house uses materials with a low carbon footprint and non-polluting “green” energies. To optimize energy savings as much as possible, this type of habitat ideally uses high technology, from the temperature of the cellar to the irrigation of the garden, controlled in real time by its owner on a smartphone. The Jewel Box , an “intelligent” and ultra ecological Swiss house, has thus just been honored with an international award.            


From eco-materials to energy savings

The life cycle of a house begins even before its realization, with the nature of the materials used for its construction, and ends with its destruction or possible recycling. The energy generated during this cycle, known as “gray energy”, can prove to be significant and polluting, especially during the construction phase with the use of concrete and cement. From a sustainable development perspective, the advantage of ecological work consists in using materials with a low carbon footprint, the use of which on site proves to be low polluting.

These environmentally friendly materials, known as “ecomaterials”, are found in construction elements: wood, an excellent insulator, light and efficient CO2 sensor, is one of these ecomaterials, such as aluminum and / or hemp concrete. Ecomaterials are also used in thermal and acoustic insulation, in a massive way (cellulose wadding, cork, rock wool) or in a more limited way (sheep wool, duck feathers, etc.)

The use of eco-materials also makes it possible to significantly limit energy expenditure, and therefore effectively reduce heating bills. However, the ideal of a so-called ecological house is to manage to eliminate or at least reduce to a minimum the energy expenditure, to produce its own energy. It is then a positive energy building (BEPOS). Different increasingly sophisticated processes exist to independently produce “green” or “renewable” energy, that is to say non-polluting and virtually always available.

Solar energy, the most productive, is captured either by photovoltaic panels or thermally, using a fluid or gaseous liquid. There are also growing miniature wind turbines for single-family homes, as well as heat pumps, which capture calories from the earth, water or soil.

The Jewel Box , a high-tech and ecological Swiss house

The flagship example of the ideal ecological habitat is a Swiss house, called Jewel Box , recently awarded the CEDIA 2015 international award. Distinguished among 120 other competitors, the Jewel Box is the work of a Swiss company, Défi Technical, based in Lausanne.

Ecologically, the house is a BEPOS, drawing its energy from solar panels. It is equipped with walls of greenery, which besides their aesthetic aspect provide excellent acoustic and thermal insulation. These green walls and the garden are watered using a rainwater collector, and an intelligent irrigation system that calculates the needs itself. Because as its name suggests, the Jewel Box is also a technological gem.

In the Jewel Box , energy control is pushed to its maximum thanks to high technology. Other examples, the house gate opens and closes by simply recognizing the identity of the owner's vehicle (s), the treatment of the swimming pool and the monitoring of the cellar are self-regulated, the wifi is cut off. night, and less economical appliances turn off when the owner leaves the house. All these devices communicate with each other and are brought together in an interface, controlled remotely by the owner on his smartphone.

The concept of the Jewel Box appeals even without any form of publicity from Défi Technique, which simply takes orders. However, buyers must be patient, since the realization of an ecological and high-tech house of this type requires at least ten months of work, or even more than a year. The cost of such a home is of course something to think about, since the cost of connected equipment alone amounts to no less than 350,000 euros.

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