Friday, June 1, 2012

Chamonix Eco-Farm

With World Environment Day coming up in a few days, the Ski House of the Day is one that embodies the spirit of sensitivity to our environment;  it's the Eco-Farm in the Chamonix Valley of France.  The Eco-Farm is located in the French Alps village of Les Houches (the first of the ski villages after you exit the tunnel under Mont Blanc).

The Eco-Farm is a carefully restored 230 year-old French Savoyarde farmhouse that is just a short two-minute walk to the ski lifts.  (Here's a look at a ski slope at Les Houches):

In the Eco-Farm, as much as possible of the original structure was re-used in the restoration (timbers, wall panels, floor, and stone), and specific attention was paid to an exhaustive list of environmental issues during the process....such as the use of Fermacel (a recycled product) instead of plasterboard, the use of re-claimed/recycled local wood items, windows with double-glazing throughout, eco-light bulbs, energy-saving appliances, deep section roof insulation, and much more).  The restoration took the owners five years to complete...and the result is Chamonix's first environmentally friendly ski chalet!  Among the Eco Farm's most impressive eco-credentials is its geothermal heating system (cutting the normal consumption by two-thirds) with 3 km of underground pipes and a heat pump to extract stored warmth from the earth.  Supplemental heating is supplied by carbon-efficient wood fireplace inserts.  In addition, there is a rainwater capture system (two 6,000 L tanks) here that recycles rainwater (and presumable snow melt, too) for flushing toilets, washing clothes, and summer gardening use.

The house is not only extraordinarily eco-friendly, but it's also stunning and brimming with charm and luxury, too!  The living room is gorgeous (by the way, I love that sleigh coffee-table!)...

...and that energy-efficient fireplace insert offers an inviting view of the cozy fire:

This beautiful kitchen is a really interesting mix of gleaming new stainless steel energy-efficient appliances alongside the rustic farmhouse woodwork and hand-crafted wooden cabinets:

The Eco Farm has five bedrooms, including a beautiful master suite:

Perfect for apres-ski, the Eco Farm even has a sauna:

...and a magnificent outdoor hot tub:

Check out the view from the balcony of the Eco an environment as spectacular as this, it's no wonder they work so hard to protect it!

According to, the Eco Farm has had an energy assessment done on it and has received a top A rating for energy efficiency,  a noteworthy accomplishment and something very rare for a chalet in an alpine environment.  I give it a top A rating for its luxury charm as well!

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