Dates of completion2008 – 20… (first building delivery in 2016, second building delivery in 2019, third building in works and ongoing project for the common house)
Surface area3 ha
LocalizationDieulefit, Drôme, France
Project description19 housing unit, 45 inhabitants


Situated in the Drôme in Dieulefit, the project called « Ecologiques COopérateurs Réunis pour un hAbitat VIvant et solidairE » (ECORAVIE) is implanted on a constructible site of 3 ha.

The aim of the project is to create “bioclimatic” participatory habitats with a strong focus on human relations, solidarity, ecology and sobriety. The project initiators group created the ECORAVIE Association in March 2009 and developed an effective practice of collective governance.


The architectural design of the first building was carried out by the architect Martin Drescher, from the SCM Ecopole des Baronnies (Nyons, Drôme).

The company OCRE (Jean Michel Elzeard), real estate developer and property manager, acted as Assistant to Project Ownership (AMO) at the end of 2013.

Project management is provided by the members of the ECORAVIE association. The association is free from any ideological, political or confessional reference, as well as from any spiritual or secular authority. The “screensavers” come together around shared common values, the pooling of common places and facilities (for example: a common house, a laundry, etc.), an egalitarian decision-making process (1 inhabitant = 1 vote, regardless of its financial contribution to the project).

The ECORAVIE association has succeeded in innovating in the legal, financial and shared governance fields by using tools from sociocracy (training with the Université Du Nous).

Various working groups are regularly organized between the “écoravissants” on themes such as “housing”, “feeding”, “connecting”, “living”, “managing”, etc. An administrative council is organised one weekend a month. It is an opportunity to present the conclusions or stages of reflection of the different thematic working groups and to collectively ensure the maintenance of the site.

As the ECORAVIE association has the status of a non-profit commercial cooperative society, no one owns their home. The association set up a common fund into which each member contributed the amount they had available. To supplement the sum, which was initially insufficient, the association solicited private investors. They were thus able to obtain the necessary budget to start the work without resorting to a bank loan. Thus, it is the cooperative that owns the site while the inhabitants are both tenants and partners, owning cooperative shares. They thus make the decisions relating to the design and management of their place of life because they live there, and not because they own it. No speculation is therefore possible on land. In practice, to ensure the balance of accounts, each inhabitant pays the equivalent of rent: part is reserved for the repayments of loans from investors, part ensures the operation of the site (charges, maintenance, future work, etc.). This second part also represents personal savings for each inhabitant. If one of the members wishes to leave the place after 10 years, he recovers his initial investment and the total amount of the savings he will have built up.

Sustainable Development

Landscape an architecture : Composed of three buildings of 5 to 6 apartments each (on three levels) and a common house, the project responds to the principles of bioclimatic and positive energy eco-construction.

The compactness of buildings, rectangular in shape, reduces the contact surfaces between the interior and the exterior, and thus heat loss. The choice of a concentrated habitat, occupying 8000 m2, makes it possible to preserve as much as possible the natural spaces, part of which is developed as a vegetable garden.

The buildings are oriented east-west. The main facade is exposed to the south which makes it possible to capture solar radiation in winter. For summer, sun protection is provided by a peripheral balcony serving as a cap. In addition, a collective double-flow CMV is connected to an air intake connected to a Canadian well providing freshness in summer and calorie savings in winter. The total air volume of each apartment is renewed three times per hour.

Solar thermal panels are installed facing south on the balconies and allow heating a collective 1000-liter domestic hot water tank (DHW). The roofs are almost entirely covered on the southern faces by photovoltaic solar panels (for a total area of 550 m²) integrated into the thickness of the roof. The electricity production of the photovoltaic roof is twice as high as consumption: one part is reserved for self-consumption, the other feeds the network.

The accommodations are not equipped with any heating. The average annual consumption of housing is estimated at 12 kWh / m2 / year, which classifies them as passive housing.

In order to reduce water consumption, a rainwater collection tank, with a capacity of 60,000 liters, was built downstream of the site and is connected to the roofs of the 3 buildings. The water thus collected allows watering of cultivated areas in the summer. The apartments are also equipped with collective and separate dry toilets which supply a compost tank. The urine goes to the wastewater network.

The materials are biobased with a Douglas fir structure, straw insulation, linoleum flooring and hemp and straw lime plaster finishes.

The accommodation has surfaces ranging from 50 to 110m2, from T2 to T5 / 6.

In each building, a laundry room and storage spaces are shared.

Energy : passive buildings (average consumption of 12 kWh / m2 / year relating to lighting, household appliances (fridge, dishwasher, oven) and IT (computers, mobile phones, etc.); the use of a Canadian well for CMV thermal solar panels for DHW 550 m2 of photovoltaic solar panels The surplus energy produced is transferred to the national electricity network, namely EDF (Electricité de France).

Biodiversity : 2,2 hectars of green spaces in project

Water : a rainwater collection tank with a capacity of 60,000 liters, dry toilets

Climate change adaptation : the natural spaces help to cool the site during periods of high heat.

Intergenerational diversity : the project aims to bring together all age groups represented by the members of the association.

Co-construction : The organization of participatory workcamps with volunteers housed and fed by the “eco-friendly” people has made it possible to reduce construction costs. Participatory work sites are supervised by professionals or residents trained in eco-construction techniques.

Researchers working on this project

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