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Renovation Project in France
 Started by  Kvilhaugveien
 28 Jun 2010, 4:37 PM

Hi all. I'm new to this site so please bear with me! I'm at the threshold of a renovation project in France which will ultimately result in a 7 en-suite property housed within an old farmhouse/barn/bakery. I'm being given a lot of advice about heating and electricity sources - geo-thermal (not thermo-nuclear as I mistakenly referred to it!!!), solar panels, AGA with back boiler, wood-burning stoves with back boilers, etc. I would like to be independent in terms of electricity: there is no mains gas. Does anyone have any thoughts on all of this please? Best wishes to all.
Insulate first then you should be able to get away without any heating, capital costs, maintenance, or running costs and eventually no replacement costs either.
the most efficient way to burn wood is in a masonry heater(or "masseovn" as we call them in Denmark).this is what I build and recomend in most situations
however this is probably not feasible for 7 en-suite bedrooms.(although we could talk about it and find a way.there is always a way)
Radiant floor heating is by far the best way to heat any living space.It,s simple to install and maintenance free(apart from servicing your boiler).every new house and appartment in Denmark is built with floor heat.Never radiators.
there is a huge range of bio-mass heaters available from denmark,germany,austria and sweden.italy.They are tried and tested over the last 20 years and it should be easy enough to find one to suit your requirements.
You must understand that the most important part of any heating system is the INSULATION.There is no getting away from this.
During the last winter 2009/2010 a lot of people in France went to bed early,no heating. The electric power system wasn't capeable to deliver what was needed.
The French energy infrastructure is outdated. So think twice when planning to run heat pumps, circulation pumps, water pumps or bakery ovens.
Nice with over 1 million habitants was taken off the grid several times so people could enyoy the christmas lights in Paris. Brettony was only a few kW away from taken off as well despite having the most atomic power per head.
And there are less and less reliable power plants connected to French grid.
Contact an energy advisor, one who speaks French and English and knows the local building regulations.
Energy-independant houses in France still look like something out of a comic strip, usually build by DIY enthusiasts not very long lasting, not very durable.
The French builders (and that includes electricians as well)
have to give a minimum of ten years on their workmenship. And none would do so if he/she hasn't done so before. Something new like an energy independant house will be hard to get there. At least not when trading with official, registered trades.
Some of the Solar decathlon houses are available off-the-rail....

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