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A Luxury Eco - Chalet that Doesn't Cost the Earth

Chalet Sterwen maximizes luxury whilst minimizing environmental impact.

A Breakdown of Innovative Eco-Design                

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Like  many outdoor sports enthusiasts, Mark and Amy are keen to preserve the environment that facilitates their happiness and livelihoods.

Built recently with bold 'Eco' ideas and environmental focus, Chalet Sterwen miraculously combines the luxuries we all crave - under-floor heating, hot tubs and gigantic windows – with an eco-friendly and sustainable design.

It all started with an old, original, thick walled barn in beautiful Les Arcs. Stripping the barn back to its classic and effective thick stone walls, the work started.  3 years later, Chalet Sterwen was complete.

Here are some of the features that they integrated into the Chalet:

 

 

Pellet burner: sustainable and plentiful powerFrance skiing, eco-ski chalet, eco-construction, luxury ski chalet in France, environmentally friendly holidays

The whole house is heated via an impressive woodchip and sawdust pellet burner that supplies the chalet with vast amounts of hot water. This hot water is then used to heat the chalet via under floor heating in each room. The rest is then stored for showers and baths.  The pellets are highly efficient and are bonded together naturally by high pressure created by the woods own natural chemical Lignin. As more trees are now planted than felled, this fuel is truly sustainable.

 

 

Wood-fire hot tub 

The cedar wood hot tub (pictured above right) is heated not by electricity, but by burning wood. The tub has a large stove in the water which, when lit, heats the water to a balmy 38 - 40C. The wood is again sourced from a local sustainable source and is very effective at transferring energy direct – from wood to water to you. 

France skiing, eco-ski chalet, eco-construction, luxury ski chalet in France, environmentally friendly holidaysSun-absorbent floor

Even the dark granite floor serves a purpose throughout the chalet - on a sunny day, the pellet burner takes a rest as the sun takes over. Purposefully positioned large windows allow the sun to heat the floor in the chalet, generating a great amount of heat from almost nowhere, saving pellets and increasing the heating efficiency of the chalet.

 

 

 

 

Eco-stove

Beautiful and bold; the eco 'smoke recycling' stove keeps the lounge warm for up to 24 hours. Once lit, the fire starts to heat the large amount of stone above the fire. The smoke is then channeled through a long winding tunnel which effectively stores the heat within the whole stove and steadily gives off the heat over a long period. The smoke leaving the chimney is noticeably cooler as so much of the energy is stored in   the stove. It puts the traditional fireplace to shame.

Hemp wallsFrance skiing, eco-ski chalet, eco-construction, luxury ski chalet in France, environmentally friendly holidays

Inside the chalet, it would take a keen eye to point out that all the materials surrounding you are natural materials. The floor is made of granite and wood. The curtains are all 100% cotton. The walls are made of naturally breathable materials, like chalk and hemp, keeping the chalet free of moisture. All of these natural materials lull you into a calm state of mind. Every aspect of design and construction maximizes sustainability – we even used recycled cardboard to insulate the walls. Fresh air is constantly pumped deep under the ground and into the chalet to keep it fresh and free of moisture. This air is geo-thermally heated by its time spent deep underground on the way to the chalet so it again helps keep the chalet naturally warm.

 

The electrics

As you would expect, all the bulbs in the chalet are LED bulbs, reducing the Watts generated by around 50 bulbs from 2500W to just 350W. This decreases the energy used to light the chalet by an incredible 86%.

The upshot

The consideration spent on these designs amount to a tiny carbon foot print and the chalet, in some cases, even generates energy from the natural sources found around us such as the sun and the geothermal energy right under our feet. Chalet Sterwen stands as an example of maintaining high standards of comfort and luxury with maximum sensitivity to the costs to the natural world.

 

Check out Chalet Sterwen here

Get more information about the company here

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About Mark Webb

Check out Mark and Amy's eco chalet here Mark and Amy met in 2004 in Tignes whilst working at a local nightclub The Melting Pot. Two years later they had opened one of the first catered chalets in a Bulgarian ski resort called Chalet Soltir. They then... read more