The Darwin Project – France

“Climatic peril, collapse of biodiversity, scarcity of resources, proliferation of risks … we can leave time to decide in our place the outcome of our civilization. Or privilege action on statements, ambition on resignation. The question is no longer to be optimistic or pessimistic, but determined.The actors installed or active at DARWIN are resolutely committed to the ecological transition, in action. Our method: a “negaWatt” strategy at the site scale, combining sobriety, energy performance and use of renewable energies.

DARWIN’s ambition took shape in 2010 with the renovation of a military heritage of 10,000 m2, guided by the obsession with energy sobriety. This is reflected in particular by demanding biases such as the bioclimatic arrangement of spaces, the refusal of air conditioning, the optimization of natural lighting and a permanent attention to gray energy savings during construction.

Lined with bold design and insulation choices (steel profile frames with thermal break points, optimization of the thermal inertia of the building, bio-sourced insulation materials, etc.), the BBC rehabilitation operation proves, after 2 years of operation, particularly efficient with an annual consumption of 84 kWh / m2 / year including uses and excluding photovoltaic!

Wishing to promote renewable energies DARWIN subscribed from its creation to Enercoop, a citizen cooperative, for its 100% green electricity supply and opted for a transient gas heat production solution, which will be abandoned as soon as possible for a connection to the district heating network. in geothermal energy (once deployed by the community is in principle from 2017).

In 2015 DARWIN innovates and deploys a photovoltaic roof of 480m2 in self-consumption (100,000 kWh annual products) allowing it to make its businesses (restaurant and grocery store 100% organic) autonomous in electrical energy. DARWIN thus becomes an energy producer for the benefit of Enercoop, which will be sold the surplus production of this facility under very favorable conditions.

Beyond the overall technical approach, what distinguishes DARWIN above all other places is its constant concern to involve its users in collective ecological governance.

Jean Marc Gancille, Co-founder of Darwin.

Considering that the degree of implication of the occupants is indeed determining in any strategy of ecological transition, DARWIN has developed a new digital interface named MIUSEEC (Intelligent Metrology of Uses for Energy Sobriety and Eco-Behaviors) allowing all the occupants of the instead of measuring their contribution to the effort.

MIUSEEC makes it possible to restore in a transparent way and in real time the ecological impacts of the life on site: consumption of fluids, waste production and recycling rate, saving of water realized thanks to the recovered rain water, food consumption and part of the bio / local, evolution of the modal shares of the transport home / work, consolidated emissions of GHGs by post … This global vision of the impacts is made possible by a coupling of the interface with the GTB (central computer of the building), with a infrastructure of sensors and “manual” data feeds. Each DARWIN occupant is thus able to concretely realize his / her contribution to climate change and to start his / her own transition process thanks to the playful logics of “efforts made”.

If the technology can thus serve the “empowerment” of the occupants, DARWIN develops as a priority a “low tech” approach more compatible with its vision of the ecological challenge. Thus several actions are conducted to minimize the energy used and reduce the consumption of resources in general. All of the furniture and furnishings of the venue are produced from recovered materials (sometimes from the building’s own renovation project) and circular economy initiatives are encouraged. Inter-company travel plan, zero waste strategy (20 types of waste are collected and find a local recycling system), collaborative repair workshops, urban agriculture initiatives (permaculture, aquaponics, composting organic waste from businesses, gardening above ground …) and upcycling approaches develop in parallel with the entrepreneurial activity and hybridize know-how and economic models in the direction of a greater frugality and social bond.

Thus the sum of these devices and actions allows a relative decoupling between economic prosperity and ecological impact. Measured day by day via MIUSEEC the GHG meter shows more than honorable results:

Each Darwinian emits up to 6x less eq.CO2 (depending on the month) than an average French tertiary employee working in an equivalent building!

Jean Marc Gancille, Co-founder of Darwin.

And these good performances are contagious because almost 70% of Darwinians claim to export eco-gestures learned in the office (according to the 2nd survey wave of May 2015 on the evolution of responsible uses at DARWIN). “ Darwin Project

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