The Maison de Paille, an ecological place like no other
The Maison de Paille is located in Essertfallon, a hamlet at an altitude of 750m on a valley side in the Doubs Regional Nature Park in the heart of the Swiss Jura.
It was mainly built with local straw, earth and wood. The use of these natural materials allows the house to breathe and shows that building differently is possible.
The Maison de Paille wishes to contribute to the human and spiritual development of the people who stay there and regularly hosts retreats, workshops, ceremonies and cultural events such as concerts, exhibitions and small festivals, as well as private celebrations such as birthdays and weddings.
It is a somewhat magical place, to which many people have contributed both materially and energetically and where many people have been able to heal wounds, find answers or acquire new tools for self-realisation.
Lighting the fire in the middle of summer - clearly not a good idea!
At present, the Maison de Paille has three wood-burning stoves located in the seminar rooms and in the dormitory. One of these stoves is hydraulic, which means that it heats the domestic water and supplies the heating. However, our boiler is not large enough to satisfactorily heat both the domestic water and the heating at the same time and we are currently forced to juggle these two functions in order to ensure the well-being of our guests. Furthermore, since last summer we can no longer rely on our water heating system via electricity, which means that this summer, in order to guarantee hot water for the showers, we will have to ask our guests to make a fire despite the summer temperatures…
This obviously makes no sense from an energy point of view (inappropriate use of wood) and from the point of view of the comfort of the people staying in the house! Not to mention the fact that in between seasons, it is difficult to maintain an ideal and constant temperature in the different rooms.
This is why we want to improve our heat production and storage system by installing: 20m2 of thermal solar panels (we already have photovoltaic solar panels for electricity production) to be installed facing south with an ideal inclination of 45°C + a 1000 litre boiler for domestic water + a 10,000 litre boiler for heating water.
Our autonomy - a long-term project that needs your help
The Maison de Paille project started about 25 years ago on an estate of the Fondation des fermes communautaires libres, owner of the structure.
For the past ten years, the centre has been able to welcome the public and show ecological alternatives by inspiring all generations. Our place is attracting more and more people and our activities are becoming more and more diversified, and we have various construction projects underway to expand the centre.
We are also planning to build a vegetable greenhouse and our new solar thermal panels would also be used to temper it, which would allow us to take better care of the seedlings and to grow vegetables in between seasons, thus contributing to our food autonomy.
It is therefore a project in continuous development, which evolves with the impulses of its visionary founder and his crazy teams!
All the sites have always been self-financed and self-built and we want to continue along this path - indeed, we are asking for help in acquiring the solar panels and the necessary equipment, but we are going to install them ourselves.
Help us to improve our structure so that it can continue to show, especially to future generations, that an energy transition is possible and that we can dream big!