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Beras: Boarding an autonomous Earth ship

Beras: Boarding an autonomous Earth ship

Pauline Massart and her family have been established since 2018.
Pictures of Dr

Pauline Massart and her family have been living in an “earth ship” in Beras since 2018. An independent house built to live in harmony and respect for nature.

againstIn 2017 the adventure began. Pauline and Benjamin live in the United States, and through a friend they discovered Earthship Biotecture, a company and NGO that manufactures Earthships, among other things. “We discovered these townhouses,” says Pauline Massart, “and even though in our life plans we had never thought of owning a house or even building one, this discovery shocked us, in the good sense of the word.” The idea finally matured for two years, before the couple ventured to Perras in the Dordogne.

A house based on six principles

“We launched the house in the summer of 2017, and since there were no manufacturers in France, we collaborated with Earthship Biotecture, which organized a school camp so that students could use it as well,” explains Pauline, whose house has been completed at the school. The beginning of 2018. A house of 150 square meters is of a different kind because the peculiarity of the land is that it lives in complete independence.

Pictures of Dr

Use of recycled materials, rainwater harvesting, in-home wastewater treatment, electricity production, home heating and cooling without fossil fuels, and food production. “The Earthship is based on these six principles,” Pauline breathes. Solar panels are then installed on the roof, feeding batteries that store electricity “for all our basic needs.” Thanks to the sloping steel roof, rainwater is collected and flows into tanks buried at the back of the house, before being filtered. Wastewater is treated by phytofiltration using plants, “and we collect it in the toilets.” Heating is provided by a wall built from recycled tires, mixed with earth, “with an insulating cover so as not to lose heat.”

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“The energy collected during the summer comes back to us throughout the winter,” explains Pauline, who also makes use of a 50-square-metre greenhouse. “Apart from the additional aspect of the living room, it brings us warmth. Everything is calculated to maximize heat, light and electricity in winter, when there is less, so that the opposite happens in summer. »

A greenhouse has been installed in the house.
Pictures of Dr

As a result, the family is “the master of its resources, energy and security.” She doesn't pay a bill. “We only buy two gas cylinders a year for cooking and to replace hot water in the winter, because there is not enough sunlight annually. »

Adapt your behavior

Taking the basics of nature's workings and applying them to our human needs and habitat, Earth brings together several goals for the couple “to live with nature and in relation to its work and resources, while maintaining comfort similar to a traditional home.” “There was this aspect: living in a comfortable house without harming nature. »

Live in a comfortable home without harming nature.

A desire that has developed since the family has lived there. “Today we have a slightly different discourse, because it is not the same comfort as in a traditional house.” And it is not a disdain. “It is not less comfort, but it is a different comfort,” emphasizes Pauline. The family has thus adapted its behavior to be able to achieve maximum comfort. At home. “We voluntarily set ourselves concrete limits, forcing us to control the available resources, and to maximize them for maximum comfort: we had to learn to read things, according to the seasons, the sun, and what our products produce. Panels, what our batteries generate today, have become common sense. » As we understand their resources better, “we have learned to modify our habits, to sort things, so on a day when there is no sun, we will not depend on our batteries.”

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The rooms are spacious and bright.
Pictures of Dr

Ask yourself to live better, adjust your behavior, and think about what is really necessary. Today, the results of this townhouse can be summed up in a few words: “It is very positive,” smiles Pauline. “By questioning our needs, our relationship with the habitat, this house made us evolve, in our relationship with nature, with living things. It is truly a living habitat that meets our needs: we will never be cold, we have protection, something to drink, something to eat, warmth and freshness. “It needs us to make it live.” The land is then positioned as a way “to live in comfort, joy and gentleness, while remaining connected and in a healthy and respectful relationship with nature.” Pauline, who works to share this experience widely, asserts: “This house shows a way to seize “Sober without being heavy or pejorative.”

The house is almost buried, completely self-sufficient in terms of heating, electricity and water.
Pictures of Dr

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Juliette Laferriere