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Philosophy

The renovation of the gîte has been inspired by the principles of preserving the environment and protecting the health and well-being of its occupants.

The ecological challenges that we face today compel us to respond in order to protect the environment for our children. The tourism industry must also play its part in supporting sustainable development and contributing to the preservation of our cultural and natural heritage.

This is why we are committed to the principles of Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism :

The project was designed with assistance from Gîtes de France, the Lot Cottages & Farmhouses Association and the Lot Board of Architecture, Town Planning and the Environment (CAUE) and overseen by architect Madame Salamagne ; its aim is to achieve a renovation that is sympathetic to the environment and local architecture.

Eco-construction

Many of the original timbers and materials were salvaged from the demolition works and recycled : internal doors, original flooring, ironware, coatings, antique furniture, etc.

The renovation works have been carried out using sound traditional materials :

In order to maintain the harmonious relationship between the buildings and their immediate surroundings, the external aspect of the building has not been modified. There are very few openings on the northern, eastern and western facades, the majority facing directly southwards to take advantage of the light and afford protection from the cold in winter.

Site management during construction: all wastes generated by the construction trades were sorted and waste minimisation options were investigated. Care was taken to ensure that no pollutants were generated by the works.

Eco-management

As individuals, we can all make a contribution towards safeguarding the planet through practical actions in our everyday lives.

Reducing energy consumption

The electrical appliances have been chosen with energy efficiency in mind (low rates of power and water consumption, represented by A or A+ energy ratings). Most of the electric light bulbs are of the energy-efficient type. The electricity audits conducted in the gîte help guests to take responsibility for their own power consumption. The heat pump allows energy costs to be reduced by a factor of 2 or 3.

Heating and air conditioning

A heat pump (with room thermostats) reduces the amount of energy consumed for heating and air conditioning purposes. The two fireplaces allow for the use of local resources (firewood) to provide additional heating.

With the renovation of the roof spaces, it has become necessary to install Air conditioning. This is because the dark-coloured slate roof absorbs and retains a substantial amount of heat, and in the height of summer there can be a build-up of heat in the roof spaces. The alcohol-based fluid used by the heat pump is an environmentally friendly product. On the ground floor, the thermal inertia of the house is such that air conditioning is unnecessary (the house stays cool in summer).

A double flow CMV (Controlled Mechanical Ventilation) system has been installed to filter and renew the air in the house in such a way as to retain the heat in winter and keep the rooms cool in summer.

Recycling waste

Visitors are encouraged to sort their waste (packaging and magazines, glass, organic waste, other household waste, batteries).

Saving water

The dishwasher uses less water than washing up by hand. Dual-flush toilets and pressure regulators have been installed. The taps are fitted with mixers and the showers with thermostatic mixers. Showers have been installed in preference to baths as baths use more water. The local water, which is fairly hard, is treated directly at the water meter to improve your comfort and extend the life of the household appliances. Rainwater recycling is at the planning stage.

Use of non-toxic cleaning products

Microfibre cleaning cloths, white vinegar, eco-certified household products (bearing the « NF Environnement » mark).

The Homestead grounds : differentiated management

The grounds cover an area of 7 hectares (70,000 m2), of which 20,000 m2 are accessible. Over a thousand trees and shrubs have been planted in the last 10 years. All of the species are local or well-suited to the soil conditions and climate of the Causse, or limestone plateau (boxwood, common maple, elder, lilac, common hornbeam, laurel, viburnum, prunus, lavender, roses, etc.).

Mowing

the areas immediately surrounding the gîte are mown on a regular basis. Spontaneously growing rare species (such as orchids) are preserved. The grounds, on the other hand, are mown once a year only. The hay is then collected and used as winter fodder for the sheep that graze in the other part of the grounds.

Weeding

The planted areas and gravel paths are weeded by hand. Clusters have been established within the grounds where the grass is left uncut until autumn so as to keep the base of the shrubs cool during the summer and maintain the ecological equilibrium by allowing grasses and wild flowers to reproduce and provide food for insects. Grass cutting is confined to the walkways, which are mown a regular basis.

Mulching

Pruned branches are reduced to wood chips which are then scattered over the beds to conserve the moisture in the soil and reduce the need for watering and weeding.

Chemical products are banned.

Preserving the history of the house

The oldest part of the house dates from the 16th Century. In common with many farms of this era, it has undergone a number of extensions and modifications; these date from 1721 and 1778, with an extra wing being added in around 1839.

From the 50's onwards, the house was used as a farm building (tobacco-drying barn).